John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


Permanent Brand Loyalty; Baseball owner tells fans to stay home; Back to school tradition

Major league baseball team owner tells unhappy fans to stay home - Service Aptitude starts at the top, and it is clear that Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort could use a seat at the summit. The team isn’t playing well, which typically results in fans venting their frustration. Shockingly, Monfort has chosen to respond to fans’ emails with responses like: “By the way you talk maybe Denver doesn’t deserve a franchise, maybe time for it to find a new home. Thanks.” And another that said, “If the experience is that bad, don’t come to the games.” As a result of the backlash from the fan base, Monfort was forced to issue a public apology.

 

A Widow gets a pleasant surprise from a server – Up until the husband passed away, a couple spent 31 wedding anniversaries together at the Red Lobster. After the husband’s passing, the widow’s daughter took her mother to the Red Lobster on their anniversary date.  Instead of a bill, they were surprised to receive this note from their server:

We are sorry to hear about your husband’s passing, but we appreciate your loyalty in spending 31 years of your anniversary with us. For your appreciation your meal is on us! We look forward to spending your next anniversary with us!

 

Sincerely,

 

Red Lobster + your server, Taylor

Read John’s full story on TheDiJuliusGroup.com.



How to ensure Customers never forget you; Proof of Dead Cat

How to make Customers unable to forget you – One of the best marketers I have ever met was a mortgage lender whom I used back in 1991. He was great to deal with, friendly and informed, worked around our schedule, and did an excellent job of keeping us informed. However, that alone wasn’t what made him exceptional or memorable.  Since the buying cycle in mortgages typically has such a long gap in between, I was certain I would have forgotten about him, had he not made sure I couldn’t forget him. When the deal was finalized, I assumed that was it, we would never hear from him again. Did we ever hear from him again? He became an excellent resource who contacted us about several times a year. Every fall, winter, spring, and summer he sent us magnetic postcards with a list of seasonal activities to enjoy. In the summer, the card listed all the water and amusement parks, outdoor concerts, and festivals, including dates, hours of operation, phone numbers, and addresses. In the winter, the card listed where we could see holiday lights, and hear holiday carolers. Each of these postcards had a shelf life of 2-3 months, which meant, nearly twelve months a year, our refrigerator had his postcard on it. Everything he sent out always ended with a note saying, “The highest compliment I could receive is a referral of a family member or friend.”  Because he constantly was sending me these seasonal postcards with great information that I could use, I never forgot who my mortgage lender was. As a result, I not only used him every time I either refinanced or purchased a new home, I referred over two dozen people to him.

 

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Lebron delivers World-Class service To Cleveland

 

The Shocking Decision – By now you have heard that LeBron James is headed back to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the place he grew up. Like LeBron, I love Cleveland, it is my home and I am very proud of it. However, to be honest, I never thought Cleveland had a chance to get LeBron back. Why would he return? Why would he choose Cleveland, Ohio, over Miami, Florida? The contract was exactly the same. Miami is thought of as one of the best cities in US, and Cleveland is stereotyped as one of the worst. Miami has the better weather, nightlife, and beaches. Miami has been to the NBA finals the last four consecutive years and has won the championship twice. Cleveland has not won any championship in any major sport since 1964. Seems like an easy decision for any professional athlete, especially one like LeBron who could be considered the best of all time; that is if he wins several more championships. So you can see my total shock when he announced he was coming back to Cleveland.

 

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Customer Experience is the new Marketing

Customer experience is the new marketing – Delivering a great Customer experience means that Customers do the marketing for you. In an article, “Customer Experience: Marketing without Marketing,” Annette Franz Gleneicki shares how having this community of loyal fans can save your brand thousands of dollars in marketing. Your company can focus on making the product, service and experience better and not use as many resources to constantly attract new Customers. Gleneicki quotes Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, “Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.” I love that quote!

 

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How to make Customers fall in LOVE with your brand

Biggest Advantage – Let’s talk about a word that is not used regularly, or comfortably, in the corporate world. That word is LOVE. While it isn’t spoken, it is what all executives want: People to LOVE their brand. They want their employees to LOVE working for them. We all want our Customers to LOVE us. Think about the top brands in the world: people don’t buy from Starbucks, they LOVE Starbucks. People LOVE Apple, Zappos, Nordstrom, Chick-fil-A, and Amazon. Think about the companies you personally would never stop doing business with? You may LOVE your hairdresser, or your account executive, manufacturer/distributor; you might even LOVE your banker or lawyer (crazy as that sounds).  What makes you LOVE a service provider or business? What did they do to make you LOVE them? How many of your Customers would make heart-shapes about your brand? I LOVE the phrase “Out-LOVE your competition.” Out-Loving your competition is the most distinct competitive advantage a company can have. When enough Customers LOVE your business, you have just made price irrelevant. What do we have to do to make our Customers LOVE us and our businesses?

 

You have to LOVE them first – LOVE has to start at home. In business terms, that means internally  treating your employees with world-class service. What is felt on the inside will be felt on the outside. All relationships begin with a connection. It may only be momentary  (your heart skips a beat) possibly originating out of the first three of the Five E’s (eye contact, enthusiastic greet, and ear to ear smile). It grows a little bit more when a conversation is had, executing on the final two E’s (engage and educate). Through this interaction, the Customer realizes it is not about the sale, rather you are truly interested in what’s best for them. Interest and trust has been created.  However, emotional connection isn’t made until the business demonstrates genuine care and interest in more than just their pocket book. Falling in LOVE with your brand is not possible until the Customer feels that it is all about them, that they are the most important person in the relationship. The business needs to take the time to learn about them, using Customer intelligence, their FORD — about their Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams.  Due to the relationship you have created, the Customer cannot recall how they ever got along before you were in their life and could not imagine a world without your business. You now have a brand evangelist.

 

What we need is LOVE - Let’s teach what kindness looks like, in business, in family, communities and schools. Have employees learn about caring for others with no hidden agenda to make a sale or profit. Teach them how to display genuine hospitality.

 

John R. DiJulius III best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices. Learn more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, America’s #1 Customer Service Conference.

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Amazon pays employees to quit, Starbucks Tweet-a-Coffee, NY Restaurant provides Secret Service

NY Restaurant provides Secret Service – The maître d’ at New York’s Eleven Madison Park has created a fascinating way to provide Secret Service and make an emotional connection with guests. He Googles guests who have reservations at the restaurant, searching for Customer intelligence such as where they are from, birth date, profession, anniversary, so he and his employees can personalize the experience from the moment the Customer walks thru the door.

 

Tweet-a-Coffee – World-Class Customer service companies make it extremely easy for their Customers to do business with them. This means they make it extremely easy to spend more money with them.  For example, Starbucks has launched Tweet-a-Coffee, allowing Customers to purchase a coffee for anyone, anywhere via twitter by tweeting @tweetacoffee and then the person’s twitter handle.  Within seconds, a $5 gift card (or tweet) has been given and can be redeemed the next time the recipient goes to Starbucks.  How easy is it to do business with you?

 

Amazon copying Zappos’ paying employees to quit – In his annual letter to shareholders (page 3, paragraph 6), Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced his Pay to Quit program, offering employees a quitting bonus to leave Amazon. Each employee gets the offer once a year. The first time, it’s for $2,000. The offer increases by $1,000 each year thereafter up to a maximum of $5,000. Sound familiar? Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, the online retailer, acquired by Amazon back in 2009, invented this concept.  He refers to it as, “The Offer.” Why are world-class Customer service organizations such as Amazon and Zappos offering incentives and making it easy for employees to leave? Bezos says it well, “In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.” World-Class Customer service organizations are not for everyone, nor should they be. They are for a small percentage of people who buy into that company’s vision and are willing to work harder and be more committed to seeing that the vision gets realized. This Pay to Quit program also turns the table on the company and its leaders. Once a year employees get a chance to evaluate where and whom they work for, which puts pressure on management to continue to strive to create a great company culture.

 

Pre-shift Huddles that work – The Maids International, based in Omaha, Nebraska,is a professional home-cleaning service with franchisee locations all over the United States. In an effort to encourage consistent, constructive huddles, each location received a “Brilliant at the Basics” laminated poster.  The poster can easily be hung in any area of an office, and then re-used daily with a dry erase marker.  It guides huddle leaders through TMI’s three pillars, gives an opportunity to discuss specific quality issues, and lastly has an area to celebrate recent Above and Beyond behaviors.  At very little cost, TMI has developed a customized huddle format, which has been deployed across the organization. Also, TMI has announced a fun way to ensure this new tool is being used.  They are holding a video contest seeking the best huddle.  TMI locations are encouraged to video tape what they consider to be their best version of a huddle.  Prizes will be awarded to the winning team.  What a fun way to encourage usage of this effective tool on a daily basis!  See TMI walking the talk.

 

Jack Daly’s new book - A sales guru and past keynote speaker of The Secret Service Summit, Jack Daly’s newest book and soon to be bestseller, Hyper Sales Growth, was released Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Jack knows sales and how to help companies grow. Hyper Sales Growth dives into three critical areas: Building a winning culture in your business, Sales Management, and Sales success. I promise that if you will take the time to read it and take action, your business will grow and achieve a greater amount of success. 

John R. DiJulius III best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices. Learn more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, America’s #1 Customer Service Conference.

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5 steps to a successful Customer service initiative

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.
  3. Implement it – This is where most plans, projects and initiatives fail — at the implementation phase. You can create the greatest idea and get everyone to rally around it, but if you don’t have a solid implementation plan, it will be another good idea that never amounted to anything, because no one made sure there was a plan to roll it out effectively after the pep rally. Implementation is a roll out calendar of phases: crawl, walking and running. This calendar needs to be timed with training and support materials. This is also where creating an extension to the steering committee comes in, i.e. Secret Service Agents, who are traditional front-line employees who help roll out the initiatives and act as front-line ambassadors.
  4. Measure it – Just like the project leader needs to lose sleep at night over the success, now every department, manager, and employee needs to know the key metric that measures the success of this initiative, i.e. retention rate, number of referrals, resign rate, closing ratio, conversion rate, Customer satisfaction score, or NPS. Not only do they need to know what it is, but what it has to be, and they need to see it daily and know exactly what impacts it. Management and employees need to obsess over this metric. The ones hitting the goal need to be celebrated loudly, the ones who are underperforming need to be coached and convinced that this is the way we are operating now and forever. Live it, love it or leave it.  
  5. Sustain it – Be relentless. There is no ribbon cutting ceremony for a world-class Customer service organization. You never arrive; you just need to keep improving. And steps 1 thru 4 need to be constantly repeated, even for the same initiative. Customer service systems evolve, some things work, many things need tweaking, better training, support, technology, better communication, and awareness. The steering committee needs to continue to meet regularly to develop new systems as well as evolve the existing ones, constantly evaluating progress and defects. Most of all, all the work done and rolled out needs to be part of the new employee orientation and training so the future generations get it, provide consistency and understand the legacy the company is built on.  Then your company’s Customer service will be your single biggest competitive advantage. 

 

Johnism

 

There’s only one boss, the Customer, who can fire everybody in the company
 from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else

  ~Sam Walton                    

John R. DiJulius III best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices. Learn more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, America’s #1 Customer Service Conference.

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