John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

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. 




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.

Matthew McConaughey’s hero


‘3 things I need in my life every day’ - This was the theme of actor Matthew McConaughey’s Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his part in Dallas Buyers Club. He needs “Someone to look up to, someone to look forward to, and someone to chase.”  My favorite part was the person he is chasing. “I am chasing my hero…my hero is me in 10 years. Every day, every week, every month, every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I am never going to be my hero, I am not going to attain that, I know I am not. That’s just fine with me, because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”  It is well worth the three and half minutes to watch McConaughey’s acceptance speech.


Virtual engagement – One big trend I see becoming a critical tool in helping Customer service reps, call centers, and anyone who uses conference calls to build stronger relationships — is virtual calls.  Picture your Customers having the ability to click a button on your website to have a Skype call with your employees. It may only be one way, where the Customer can see the employee only, or two- way where they can see each other. Regardless, seeing someone face-to-face forces employees to stay engaged, ensure they will not be distracted by anything else, increase the amount of smiling and overall friendliness.


‘I gave my best’ – This may sound mean or unsympathetic, but one of my least favorite sayings is ‘I gave my best’. To me it is an unacceptable crutch; I don’t want to hear it. My personal feeling is when the goal is to accomplish greatness, go where no one or team has gone before.  I wasn’t asking for your best effort; your best is what you WERE capable of in the past, previously. I was expecting you to figure it out, try 1,000 ways, and if need be, try another 1,000 ways.  Innovate, lose sleep, get around it, find loopholes, research, sweat like you never have before. Every extraordinary accomplishment, invention or revolution was not a result of someone giving his or her best. Somehow that person or group found a way to do what no one else could do, they did the impossible, they did what no one had ever done before. The real issue is not the effort that is in question at the moment or during the event, it’s the effort leading up to it. Whether you win or lose, get the sale, or ace the test, it is all determined in the effort given in preparing for the event. Every match is determined long before the contest happens. So the next time you fail, before you want to make yourself feel better by saying, “I did my best,” consider whether you did your best in the preparation. The actual effort given in the event has the least to do with the outcome.





 Many times the cheaper the Customers go, the more it costs them.


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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Top 8 reasons why your Customer service may be failing

The top 8 reasons why your Customer service may be failing 


1. Lack of Executive Sponsorship - It is a proven fact that any big initiative, project, or revolution has to have the support of the senior leadership team. Otherwise it will be considered flavor-of-the-month or management-by-bestseller. The senior leadership team has to provide the necessary resources to create long-lasting change. Customer service has to be as important as finance, sales, operations, and technology. It needs to be talked about at board meetings and strategic planning sessions, with leaders and everyone else in the company including front-line employees. See past eService Executive Sponsorship


2. No CXL - Regardless of your company’s size, someone in your organization has to be the Customer Xperience Leader; the person in charge of the Customer experience for the entire company. I am not talking about the Customer service reps or call center. That person should not be the President, CEO or owner, but someone who reports directly to him/her. 


3. No CX community - One of the most effective initiatives developed by our consulting clients is an internal Secret Agent Team, made up primarily of non-management staff, to support the Customer service initiatives and help gain momentum throughout the front-line employees. See past eService Secret Service Agents 


4. No key metric - Companies need to see the impact that Customer satisfaction has on their key metric drivers (i.e., Customer retention, average ticket, re-sign rates, referrals, average contracts, frequency of visits). This demonstrates the ROI, as well as allows management teams to hold employees accountable for providing a great Customer experience at every level of the organization. Measurement tools can be anything from Customer surveys, third-party companies that measure Customer satisfaction, secret shoppers, to statistical benchmarks (such as the average ticket or the number of referrals. These provide a benchmark to measure the impact of the new systems and to determine whether they are being consistently executed. 


5. Your business is not special - If you ask 100 leaders why delivering superior Customer service is so difficult, you will hear the same answers over and over again: “Our business is unique.” “In our industry it is so hard to find employees, let alone ones who care about service.” “We can’t afford to pay enough to get quality people.” “We have a totally different Customer, it is much more difficult.” Every business is dealing with the same dynamics, trying to un-commoditize their service or product from all their competitors and not get sucked into price wars. 


6. Lack of hospitality training - On average, a company devotes more than 90 percent of its training to hard skills (such as technical and operational skills and product knowledge) and less than 10 percent to soft skills (such as hospitality, relationship building, service recovery, and experiential training). 


7. Low Service Aptitude - The quality of your Customer service comes down to the Service Aptitude of every employee you have. From the CEO to the account executive, sales clerk, call center, receptionist, corporate office support team, to every front-line employee — it’s all about Service Aptitude!!! No one is born with it; it is not innate. The vast majority of the workforce has extremely low Service Aptitude. It is not the employees’ responsibility to have high Service Aptitude, it is the company’s job to teach it to them. See past eService Service Aptitude


8. Lack of purpose motive - Too many companies underestimate the power a purpose provides to front-line employees, which is critical for having high morale in a workplace. See past eService Purpose maximizers & Service Vision





Companies spend millions creating and advertising their brands,
yet the Customer’s experience is what drives Customer loyalty


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.

Anytime Fitness #1; CVS makes brave decision which costs billions in sales

CVS stops selling cigarettes, forfeits $2 Billion in sales - CVS, the largest pharmacy chain in the US, made the courageous choice to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in all their nearly 8,000 stores.  “We’ve got 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners who are helping millions of patients each and every day,” said Larry Merlo, the chief executive of CVS Caremark. “They manage conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes – all conditions that are worsened by smoking. We’ve come to the decision that cigarettes have no place in an environment where healthcare is being delivered.” Why has no other drugstore chain ever done this before? Considering this decision will cost CVS $2 billion in sales, we say,  “Kudos to CVS.” Read the entire story.


Anytime Fitness #1 Franchise – The DiJulius Group is proud to announce that one of our consulting clients, Anytime Fitness, was ranked No. 1 by Entrepreneur magazine’s annual “Franchise 500″ list. Anytime Fitness is the world’s largest and fastest-growing co-ed fitness club chain. It was also recently named “One of America’s Most Promising Companies” by Forbes magazine, as well as the “Best Place to Work” by Minnesota Business magazine two years in a row. I haven’t worked with too many companies that can rival the amazing culture created by co-founders Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen. Nearly 1500 employees are sporting an Anytime Fitness logo tattoo. The purpose of Anytime Fitness is ‘to improve the self esteem of the world.’ In 2014, The DiJulius Group is helping Anytime Fitness launch their new Customer Service Vision statement to all 2,500 clubs around the world: Surprisingly Personable Experience.  Their pillars to the service vision statement are Care~Coach~Connect.




The Meaning of Yes – Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman and CEO of Diamond Resorts International, uses the mantra ‘The Meaning of Yes’ for his entire company as a relentless commitment to Customer service. While it applies to the hospitality industry, it is applicable to all businesses industries. This is so timely, given that too many businesses offer transactional, impersonal, lackluster or unhelpful Customer experiences.  Watch Cloobeck’s interview about DRI building their brand around ‘The Meaning of Yes’.





 It is not employees’ responsibility to have high service aptitude;
it is the company’s to give it to them.


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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Top 7 eServices of 2013

In case you missed it - The 7 most popular eServices of 2013 were the following. (I suggest printing them out, reading and sharing them with your management team.)


 1.     The Next 30 Years - I had the honor of being asked to present at my high school’s 30th reunion. I hope you enjoy this and find some things here that are applicable to your life’s journey. The Next 30 Years


 2.     11 Rules to a World-Class Customer Service Mindset - This list is the acid test if you, the leader, truly want to create a world-class service culture.  You must have the following mindset; 100% with no wavering. If any of these 11 rules are difficult to swallow or you don’t fully agree, you are not yet there. 11 Rules to a World-Class Customer Service Mindset


 3.     No problem is a Big problem - The biggest street slang terms used in every business today are the responses, “no problem” or “not a problem.” Find out why No problem is a Big problem


 4.     To Change the world by creating a Customer service revolution - 



We are so proud of the fact that hundreds of organizations all over the world have adopted this as their vision of how they want to build their business and distance themselves from the competition. However, for it to be truly successful, for it not to be just another mantra, annual theme, platitude, or flavor of the month, it is critical you understand what creating a Customer service revolution really means.  Breaking down the definition of Changing the world by creating a Customer service revolution — to its core.


 5.     Email Never & Always standards - We’ve noticed since helping our clients create and roll out these non-negotiable standards, that it’s lacking for people who work in jobs where they mostly communicate electronically, i.e. via email (corporate home office, internal support positions, Customer service reps, etc.).  So the following are examples from some of The DiJulius Group’s consulting clients’  Email non-negotiable standards.


 6.     Nine worst Customer service retailers - The good news is, Customer satisfaction with retailers is at an all-time high.  The bad news is, some well-known brands are not pleasing their Customers. Check out who the nine retailers with the worst Customer service were.  Are you surprised by who is on the list?


 7.     To be the most Customer-centric company in the world - I love both as a consultant and Customer of their world-class service! They are one of the top 10 Customer service companies in the world. Jeffrey Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, is fanatical about the Customer experience. Most Customer-Centric company in the world


2014 Secret Service Certification Schedule Announced – Apply to the most coveted Customer Experience Certification Classes of 2014.  Learn how to train your team, your company, your clients on how to become world-class Customer experience providers regardless of industry or size.  When you become certified, you’ll receive the tools used by the top Customer service companies in the world!  Learn more.





Do not ask the Customers what they want, give them something that they cannot live without.

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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10 WORST Customer service stories of 2013; WestJet airlines delivers Secret Service

#10 -  Wanna see a bank teller? It will cost you. Some banks now want you to pay for face time as more institutions are charging fees for interacting with a teller.


#9 - DirecTV charges Customer $400 for equipment after a devastating wildfire destroyed their home.


#8 - Several major credit card companies have to return a combined $425 million to consumers, primarily for misleading sales tactics


#7 - Too Fat To Tan. After a woman purchased a tanning package, she was told she was too fat to tan at a tanning salon, and the salon would not give her a refund.


#6 - Lululemon, an athletic apparel retail store, sold yoga pants that were see-through. It got worse! When women came back to the store to return the too-sheer yoga pants, the Customers were asked to try on the pants and bend over in front of sales associates, who would assess them before a return was permitted.


#5 – A pizza driver gets on an elevator, opens a pizza box, proceeds to eat several toppings off the pizza, then closes the box back up and delivers the pizza to the Customer.


#4 - Retail store Charges Customers a $5.00 ‘Just Looking’ Fee.


#3 - A young boy, who has an asthma attack , is refused a 9-1-1 call because it is against their policy to let Customers to use their phone.


#2 – Company fines for negative online review. This company built a clause in their “Terms and Conditions” at the time of sale that, if accepted, prohibits any Customer from posting anything negative about the company.


#1 -  Restaurant sends consumer an invoice for restroom visit. A restaurant in Houston, Texas area sends a woman, who used their restroom, a bill for $5.00 for using their restroom. 


WestJet Airlines delivers the Ultimate Secret Service Christmas Surprise – Canadian based airline WestJet sets up electronic Santa chat boxes in terminals at airports. Travelers are entertained while chatting with Santa, as parents and kids alike tell him what they want for Christmas. However, it didn’t stop there. While the flights were in the air, WestJet shoppers pick up everybody’s Christmas wishes, from “socks and underwear” to “a big screen TV.” When they get to baggage claim, instead of their luggage, travelers were greeted with big blue boxes with their names on the front and their dream Christmas gifts inside. You have to watch it to believe it! 
What better way to say Happy Holidays than “What’s The Secret?” -  This season gift your clients a signed copy of my book with this one of a kind holiday offer: 10 books for $150 Nothing says “you care about Customer service” more than the gift of this signed copy of the book that is changing the world of business.  To purchase use online code: 10XMAS, offer valid through Sunday, December 22nd!







The only businesses surviving with long-term sustainability
are the ones fanatical about differentiating themselves through the Customer experience they deliver


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.

Only 10 Days left; Experience Epiphany; John’s Summit Agenda

Revolutionizing an Industry - A revolution starts with a clear vision of a world that is different than the one we live in today. A revolution is the ability to take a concept to a new direction that was never contemplated before, and rally a group of people around that cause and its benefits to the world. It moves a society forward-occurs when someone is obsessively passionate about a particular subject that improves the human condition. The people who obsess over these ideas cannot imagine doing anything else. Thinking about the subject consumes them, energizes them, and ultimately inspires them to create breakthrough companies, products and services. Think about the companies that literally revolutionized their industries: Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Amazon, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Apple. Each of those brands used a radical approach to trashing the traditional industry mold and re-writing history.


Experience Epiphany - An Experience Epiphany fills a gap Customers didn’t know they had. What was once considered impossible is now the standard experience everyone else is trying to duplicate.  Experience epiphanies rarely occur in familiar surroundings. The key to “thinking differently” is to perceive things differently, through the lenses of a trailblazer. And to see things through these lenses, you must force your brain to make connections it otherwise would have missed.  See past eService featuring companies that created Experience Epiphanies in their industry – UniQlo & Quiktrip


Experience Epiphany Exercises – Get a group of people together from your organization who are progressive, innovative thinkers. In order to brainstorm and not allow people to think about current limitations, (i.e. budget, lack of technology) make it about the experience your company will deliver in 2018 (five years from now).

  • List out the traditional experiences that your good competitors provide.
  • Compare it to the experience your company provides.
  • Ask what service defects and frustrations your Customers have when dealing with your company — and any company in your industry or similar type of industry.
  • Ask how you can make it easier to do business with you.
  • Ask how you can predict what your Customer wants and needs, and anticipate those needs before they even know what they need.
  • Ask why. Why do we do it this way? Does it have to be done this way?
  • And finally, ask what our experience would look like if we charged 10x as much.

You will see that the vast majority of your answers to all those questions can be implemented now, at very little cost.


John DiJulius Secret Service Summit presentation – Here is what John will be presenting on at the 2013 Secret Service Summit:

  • Monday November 4th – Keynote “State of Service” — The top seven reasons why good companies cannot get to world-class Customer service status, and what the best Customer experience companies do differently than everyone else.
  • Tuesday November 5th – Interactive workshop on “Creating Employee Evangelists in Your Organization.” This workshop will focus on how you can build a service culture by attracting better employees, and transforming the existing employees to workers with a true sense of purpose. Ones who understand the part they play in the success of the organization by choosing attitude over aptitude.  There will be several exercises that you and your team can take back and implement immediately.  

10 Days to America’s #1 Customer Service Conference - The Secret Service Summit delivers the best Customer experience education including a solid plan to take your company’s Customer experience strategy to the next level and make price irrelevant.


Don’t lose this opportunity to learn from these experts how to deliver a world-class Customer experience, increase retention, referrals, repeat business and change the world by creating a Customer service revolution.


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.

2012 Secret Service Summit Highlights


­2012 Secret Service Summit Highlights





2012 Secret Service Summit – The summit is over, and it was incredible! As a result of enormous success for 2011 Secret Service Summit, we moved the event to a larger venue to accommodate the increase in demand.  However, due to the amazing lineup of speakers and companies represented, it still sold out, over 400 attendees! The hype didn’t disappoint, as you can see by a sampling of feedback we 

received (we received hundreds of similar comments). Best of all was the energy in the room; a world-class customer service conference is unlike any other. Everyone came to find out how to raise hospitalityand customer experience to the next level. The passion in the room was indescribable, and many people were sad the conference ended.


Whether you were there seeing it unfold live or you were unable to get a ticket, we now have it available for you to hear and share with your entire organization. We captured the amazing content offered by all the brilliant leaders, authors, and motivational speakers of the 2012 Secret Service Summit Audio Series.


Recapping some of the major takeaways from each of the presenters:


Mikki Williams - Author of Mikki Mouth


“Just loved her presentation! She used great stories to bring home her points. She will be aspeaker that I will never forget throughout my career. I’ve already used her theory of “Ask. Ask First. Take Risks” at work with my boss. The only way it could have been better would have been to hear more from her!”


    1. Ask!  Ask First!  Take a Risk!!
    2. Be a car fixer, not a horn honker and take action!
    3. Do good things, then remember that you did them
    4. Be Outrageous!


    Rory Vaden - Author of Take the Stairs


    “Fantastic presentation – great engaging speaker. Enjoyed his insight on procrastination and discipline. Only wish he could have spoken longer and covered more of the Take the Stairs book.”


      1. Waiting Makes it Worse – Procrastination is the most expensive invisible cost in business today because we always pay a price. We either pay the price now, today, or we will pay it later. Procrastination and indulgence are nothing more than creditors that charge us interest.
      2. Paradox Principle of Sacrifice – Easy short-term choices lead to difficult long-term consequences. Meanwhile difficult short-term choices lead to easy long-term consequences. So learn to leverage long-term vision to endure those short-term sacrifices.
      3. Buy-In Principle of Commitment – The more we have invested into something, the less likely we are to let it fail. So you increase your commitment, and thereby increase the likelihood of your success by intentionally creating the question, “How” rather than accidentally relenting to the question, “Should.” (Don’t be a “should-head.”)
      4. The Rent Axiom – Success is never owned; it is only rented – and the rent is due every day.


      So the next time you are in front of a set of escalators and some stairs, Take the Stairs because success comes from doing things we don’t always want to do.



      Arnie Malham - cj Advertising


      “I mean WOW!!! What an inspiring leader. I wanted to relocate to Tennessee just to have achance to work for this man. In all honesty, to me this is how secret service is successful, by having poignant, inspiring, caring leadership. Secret Service can only truly work if you first as a leader care about your people. I thought he did an amazing job at showing everyone that this was the way to have the best and most efficient employees. Honestly amazing!”


      Make your culture intentional and align with your goals.  My top moves that aligned well for me included…

        1. Appreciating my team by respecting their kids, their pets, and their dreams.
        2. Making sure my team members specifically know what success looks like for them individually.
        3. Investing in training at intense and insane levels to make sure they have all the tools they need to be as successful as possible.


        John C. Morgan - George W. Bush impersonator


        “Do you have a score of “12″ for this guy? How great was it to see him come and shake hands! People really thought he was the real deal. Not only did he look like the former President – he also spoke like him. I laughed so hard I almost cried. What a way to start off the conference! Loved him!!!!”


          1. You have to start with passion and belief. Believe that your employees and customers are worth the best service you can plan and implement. Be passionate about that truth to give you the motivation to see it through.
          2. It takes real work planning the Secret Service Systems and even more to implement the level of service that creates a scenario wherein price is irrelevant, but it becomes second nature after the systems are in place and have been working a while. 
          3. The payoff is more than monetary, although it certainly does include financial gain. The real payoff is in knowing that you are giving your all to serve others and your community, and creating a better life for those you touch. Lastly you gain the satisfaction of knowing that for those watching, you are living a life worthy of imitation.



          Dr. David Moffet - Ultimate Patient Experience


          “I enjoyed that he benefited from using Secret Service and how it changed his practice. He was funny and absolutely adorable.  I loved his concept of ‘offer the offer.’ Since the end of the summit, I have already used that phrase at least 5 times!”


            1. Think outside your industry. See what others in other industries are doing and ask how you can use that in your industry.
            2. Don’t write your circumstances off.  In your opinion, you may work in the wrong industry, or the wrong area/country for world-class customer service, but it doesn’t matter.  Apply the principles to your workplace, and then watch the opportunities appear for you, and watch your business grow!!
            3. Remember to systemize your whole office. Look at every step your clients experience in their customer experience cycle. No point is greater in one step while you’ve not covered other steps, or ALL other steps for that matter.  Cover all the bases.


            Alan Lovelace - RPM Domino’s Pizza


            “I thought it was great how he incorporated secret service into his family’s life.  I enjoyed that Alan truly exemplified the commandments for World-Class Service at home and at work.”



            1. World Class Leadership at Home is key before you can lead successfully at work
            2. Treat your Team Members the same way you treat external Customers 
            3. Don’t rush the rollout process.  Maintain standards at the same time.




            Michael Coburn - Nestlé USA


            “I loved that he took us from bad to great. He took us on the journey and let us see how change can happen when you get the right people to lead it through!”

              1. Don’t hesitate — change when change is not obviously needed (i.e. improving customer service even when you already have high scores).
              2. Engage your front-line team to deliver results you never imagined (i.e. Secret Service Agents).
              3. Try something bold; your team will follow you (i.e. daily huddles).


              Roy Bivens & Darryl Greene - authors of Experiencing Improvement


              “I loved the chemistry between Roy and Darryl.  Enjoyed their relaxed humor and real world experience.”


                1. Three guiding principles dominate our approach to working with leaders who want to pursue the work of improvement:  - Meet people where they are
                  - Provide tools to help
                  - Coach and nurture them to sustain it   
                   2. When caregivers are allowed a chance to experience improvement, they are able to see value for themselves and patients. They can connect what they are doing with what they consider important, which enables engagement. High customer satisfaction follows.  
                3. Experience Improvement -> Enable Engagement -> High Customer Satisfaction   



                Denise Thompson, Chief Xperience Officer - The DiJulius Group


                 “Denise was a great speaker. She did a nice job of introducing all the speakers and giving a quick synopsis of their backgrounds. She was energetic and kept the crowd going on their learnings/takeaways. She’s so friendly – like you are just talking with one of your best girl friends.”

                • Don’t expect to change a culture overnight.  Be relentless — small steps lead to big change. 
                • Record your victories along the way.
                • Create community to start a successful revolution. It motivates people, and people are influenced by others.  When people are involved in a project they are more likely to take steps to act and hold themselves accountable rather than just think nice thoughts about ‘what if…’
                • It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel.  Look at what others are doing that’s successful and tweak it to make it your own.
                • Recognize what team members are doing to go above and beyond.  Acknowledge, post and share stories.  This will create a snowball effect encouraging others to participate, too.

                John DiJulius - The DiJulius Group


                “John always does a great job! His content was amazing and significant to the group and to getting the point across.”


                How to be a Zero Risk Organization


                1. Make sure you are extremely easy to do business with by making policy invisible and eliminating negative cues.

                2. Create a better systems and processes to reduce service defects.

                3. Create World-Class service recovery and protocols, actions and tools for when they do occur so your front-line employees can execute and create even more loyalty from your customer as a result.

                4. Find an alternative to every “NO” you have had to say in the past.




                Watch the highlight clip from the 2012 Secret Service Summit





                While you may feel like your client is demanding, your competition won’t 

                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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                NEWS FLASH! Announcing the #1 Customer Service Conference Ever Produced!

                 MAKING PRICE IRRELEVANT: Based on the experience your customer’s consistently receive, they have no idea what your competition charges.


                THE SMOKING GUN – Business leaders are finally realizing that Customer Loyalty is every company’s greatest asset in any economy!  No longer is an investment in customer service considered an expense, but now is considered an asset. Several studies have compared the top 20% customer satisfaction companies versus the three major markets over six years (a period where the stock market had both ups and downs). The results were astonishing. You may know the importance and benefits of providing consistent superior customer service, but I doubt you realize how significant it really is. The top customer satisfaction companies beat the Dow Jones by 93%, S&P 500 by 201%, and NASDAQ by 335%.  The results conclusively show that customer satisfaction pays off in up-markets and down-markets. When the stock market dropped in value, the stock prices of firms with highly satisfied customers seemed to have benefited from some degree of insulation.

                A CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION: A radical overthrow of conventional business mentality, designed to transform what employees and customers experience. This shift produces a culture that permeates into people’s personal lives, at home & in the community, which in turns provides the business with higher sales, morale, brand loyalty – making price irrelevant.  

                Secret Service Summit

                JOIN THE REVOLUTION The #1 Customer Service Conference ever produced, the Secret Service Summit, will be held this November 5th & 6th in Cleveland, Ohio.  This is a two-day international seminar dedicated exclusively to world-class customer service. There will be more than 10 presenters over two days sharing their different expertise at this year’s event.  The lineup includes respected authorities, authors, consultants, and top-brand executives who run world-class customer service organizations.  They know how to provide superior customer service while still operating a growing and profitable business in today’s economy.

                I guarantee that the 2012 Secret Service Summit will the best ROI of any professional development training/seminar you have experienced. The Secret Service Summit will enable your management team to return with a solid plan to take your company’s customer experience to the next level and make price irrelevant.

                Click here for early bird  registration and receive $50 OFF per ticket.


                “It is not enough to be considered the best at what you do,

                rather the only one that does what you do.”

                Announcing the 2012 Secret Service Summit Lineup

                A SOLD OUT conference 3 years in a row, don’t miss this opportunity to join the best and learn how to increase retention, referrals, repeat business and brand evangelism, insulate your company from any economic climate, and “change the world by creating a customer service revolution.”

                EARLY BIRD ENDS JULY
                TICKETS ON SALE TODAY!

                Reon-Speaker, Author

                Reon Shutte

                Speaker Author

                Inspirational speaker Reon Schutte shares his epic personal life journey with audiences around the world, holding listeners spellbound with his incredible story of survival and overcoming inconceivable adversity. At the same time, he inspires his audience members to break out of their personal prisons of fear, hate, anger, blame, lack of forgiveness, self-doubt and attachment to material possessions or status.

                read more

                Darryl Greene

                Executive Director of Continuous Improvement -
                Cleveland Clinic, Author
                Darryl is responsible for helping the Cleveland Clinic Health System achieve excellence in patient service and managing performance towards goals. He and his team partner with clinicians and non-clinical employees to identify and address opportunities to improve the delivery of care for both administrative and clinical processes. As well, he is working collaboratively with physician leadership to implement and consistently use an integrated business model to help manage the business side of healthcare.

                Darryl-Cleveland Clinic

                Roy-Orion Consulting, Author

                Roy Bivens

                Consultant, Author

                Roy specializes in working with senior executive teams in customizing and deploying performance management and continuous improvement methodologies to create world class performance driven organizations. An experienced entrepreneur, Roy has helped leaders craft strategic plans for a number of diverse businesses and disciplines, with industry experience that includes banking, insurance, healthcare, oil and gas, and several financial services enterprises.

                read more

                Mikki Williams

                Speaker, Author
                Mikki Williams, CSP (certified speaking professional, an honor bestowed on less than 600 speakers worldwide), has been named one of the top speakers in the country by Meetings and Convention magazine along with Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Colin Powell, Lou Holtz, and Mike Ditka.

                Mikki-Speaker, Author

                Founder, CEo, CJ Advertising

                Arnie Malham

                Founder, CEO – CJ Advertising
                After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a degree in finance, Arnie served a year-long stint at a Nashville area bank before spending four years in sales at a local CBS affiliate.

                read more

                Rory Vaden

                Cofounder Southwestern Consulting, Author

                Rory Vaden is a Self-Discipline Strategist, Cofounder of the multi-million dollar international training company Southwestern Consulting, and New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success.

                read more

                Rory-Speaker, Author

                John DiJulius bio

                John DiJulius

                THE Authority on Customer Service
                He is the founder and CVO (Chief Visionary Officer) of The DiJulius Group, a consulting firm that helps companies “Make Price Irrelevant”. Top organizations across the world use his philosophies and systems for creating a world-class customer service experience.
                read more



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                The Six Components of a Customer’s Experience

                In order to create brand loyalty and customer evangelists, you must:

                 (1) operate at a high level in six distinct areas of business


                 (2) constantly evaluate your company’s customer service across each category, separately, and as categories overlap

                1. Physical: Deals with the actual brick-and-mortar component of your operation. These are the physical elements that are more permanent or long term, that cannot be changed daily.

                2. Setting: Refers to the controllable setting you create daily. As Disney says, “Everything speaks from the doorknobs to the dining rooms sends a message to the guest.”2 The setting communicates a message about what you can provide your customers. This isn’t always visual, it may be the music your customers hear when they call and are placed on hold or the mood your web site creates. The setting reveals the characteristics of your business as they appeal to the five senses of your customer: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.

                3. Functional: Refers to the ease of doing business with you-return policies, hours of operations, and other factors. Functionality has nothing to do with human interactions, such as being pleasant or saying please or thank you.

                4. Technical: Refers to your staff’s level of expertise in their particular skills and in the company’s systems and equipment, such as product and job knowledge. Again, this has nothing to do with whether they are nice.

                5. Operational: Refers to the actions that team members must execute behind the scenes before, during, and after a customer’s experience. These actions assist in the day-to-day transactions with customers, the tasks, compliances, and duties of our jobs.

                6. Experiential: Refers to the actions that team members execute while interacting with the customer. Those actions that make the customer say “WOW!” The customer is delightfully surprised. Experiential actions are the reason why customers return, refer others, and become brand evangelists. These include Secret Service, personalization, anticipating customer’s needs, and others.


                Let’s look at some real-life examples of these components:

                • Your server is the most incompetent waitress (technical) you have ever met, but she is trying her hardest and being extremely nice (experiential).
                • The place needs a good paint job (physical).
                • The store where you shop is always out of what you want (operational).
                • Your favorite store is difficult to get to and has barely any parking (physical).
                • This salon has high energy and always smells great (setting).
                • The quality of the food (technical) is unfit for human consumption.
                • An associate overheard that you really wanted a diet drink and ran across the street to the drugstore to get it for you (experiential).
                • At the diner, everything is themed 1950s style (setting).
                • It is impossible to get a human being on the phone. No matter what you try, you cannot get out of the company’s voice-mail maze (functionality).
                • The company has a 24-hour answering service and guarantees a call back within 60 minutes (functionality).
                • My sales rep always screws up my order (technical).

                      Specific examples of each of these six components are:


                -Brick and mortar






                -Parking availability



                -Public areas

                -Floor coverings



                -Handicap accessible









                -Comfort of chairs,

                beds, etc.



                -Sound system

                -TV placement

                -Noise level



                -Hours of operation

                -Ease of doing business

                -Accessibility to a human being

                -Product selection

                -Design of your web site

                -How well you are staffed

                -Reliability of vendors


                -Payment options

                -Phone number on web site


                -Employees level of expertise

                -Speed of your technology


                -State of the art


                -Ability to use your web site


                -Phone system


                -Product knowledge

                -Quality of product




                -Daily tasks


                -Dress code


                -Answering the phone


                -Checking people out

                -Processing orders

                -Functions of the job





                -Customer engagement


                -Above and beyond

                -Using the customer’s name

                -Remembering preferences

                -Presentation of food

                -Verbiage/vocabulary of staff


                -Willingness to help

                -Anticipating needs

                -Service recovery

                -Soft skills

                      An example of physical excellence would be the beauty of Disney parks or how The Cheesecake Factory restaurants are designed. Starbucks has mastered setting, from the comfortable, inviting furniture to how well they merchandise their cafes, just as Disney has mastered how well they theme their parks and hotels. A couple of great examples of Functional excellence are Nordstrom department stores and who have simplified the process of returning merchandise.

                      Cleanliness is a great example of operational excellence. When you are considering your customer’s experience, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Consider a hospital room, or massage or facial room. Because patients and customers are lying down for extended periods of time, they may notice the condition of areas of the room employees never look at.

                      As for the sixth component of the customer’s experience, experiential excellence, there is no need to provide specific examples here because the rest of this book is focused on experiential standards.

                      Keep in mind that it is important to constantly review how customer friendly your company is in each department. With regards to training of new and existing employees, the majority of your training will deal primarily with technical, operational, and experiential.

                      The vast majority of companies focus their training on the technical with very little if any emphasis on the experiential. Having been fortunate to work with some of the best customer-service companies in the world, I have both learned and helped create some amazing training that truly prepares new employees to be able to provide a world-class experience, regardless of their backgrounds.

                People don’t remember what you said
                as much as how you made them feel

                      Are any of the components more important than another? No, all are critical and all need to be reviewed and tweaked on a regular basis. The components differ significantly in terms of required people skills training. Physical, setting and functionality have little to do with training or people skills, but the other three components absolutely do involve people skills and training. There is a difference, however, in the training required for each component. It is much easier to train employees on technical and operational skills; they are job-specific, and they include easy-to-train subjects, such as product knowledge, and checklists. Also, technical and operational skills tend to be present and thorough because of prior education, degrees, licensing, certifications, and trade schools. Many industries today mandate continuing education credit hours. The vast majority of companies are weakest in the experiential category.


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