John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

Are you a grudge buy? Who will wear the cape next?
February 24, 2015, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Customer Service
Grudge Buy – There are businesses that people enjoy experiencing like a visit to Starbucks, a weekend at The Ritz Carlton, shopping at Nordstrom, or a visit to the Spa. Then there are businesses that Customers dread, wish to avoid, and it frustrates them that they need to waste their hard-earned money there. These are called grudge buys. A grudge buy is something we need or must do, but is the last thing we want to do with our time or money. Grudge buys can be going to the dentist, paying for car insurance, needing new tires, calling for technical support or dealing with your attorney. Businesses that offer grudge buy services and products start off with a distinct disadvantage, versus a spa experience that is pleasurable. However, in many cases there is an advantage to this grudge buy perception. The consumer’s expectation for an enjoyable experience is typically very low. Also, the Customer is at a point of vulnerability, i.e. flat tire, illness. Nothing creates a stronger bond and loyalty than when someone comes to the rescue when another person is in a vulnerable position. 

Truck driver’s grudge buy – Often a truck driver does not want to have to come to the truck repair center of TravelCenters of America. If they do, that means something is wrong with their truck, which means their day is on the brink of disaster. TA has created an incredible training video titled, A Day in the Life of a Driver. It depicted a typical day for a driver who has not been home or seen his family for an extended period of time. It shows all the demands he has personally and professionally. His goal is to make it home for his son’s basketball game that evening. He hasn’t seen his son play, and his son wants him at this game. He finds out that more and more drivers he works with are being laid off, which makes him concerned for his job. He finally makes all his stops and is headed home to see his son’s game. Just then, one of his tires blows and he shouts, “Not now, not a tire!” And you hear his son’s voice saying, “You’ve got to make it home tonight. You have to see me play!” You realize he probably isn’t going to see his son’s game as a result of his flat tire. The last thing you see is the driver pulling into a TravelCenters of America truck-repair location. It is gripping. That is how a day-in-the-life-of-a-Customer video should end-like a cliffhanger. What happens next? Hopefully, the right employee, who got to see this driver’s day unfold, will be saying to his or her coworkers, “I got this one, I got this next driver coming in.” They are going to be determined to help him get back on the road and home in time. In the case of TravelCenters, that is every driver’s situation. No matter what they have going on in their life, no one wants to have a truck break down and be late for the rest of the stops and have to work much later than planned. So it is realistic that nearly every driver walking in has that similar state of mind. 

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Am I a hypocrite when I say you should offer a price match guarantee?
February 17, 2015, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Customer Service
Employee mindset is wrong – Ask your employees this question: If your Customers told you that they could get what you sell from some place else for significantly less, what would you do? What would you say to keep them? You will probably be disappointed at their answer. Too often when faced with that same scenario, employees act almost apologetic, and start offering the Customer more, or even worse, they discount to justify the price gap. The problem is, your front-line employees may not understand the true value of the services and products they are selling to the Customer. 

New Paradigm on price match guarantees – I was inspired by reading Jeff Shore’s blog, Don’t Wage a Price War. Win Sales by Eliminating Your Competition. A paradigm shift is needed from selling a commodity someone can get anywhere to an experience Customers can only enjoy with your company. Everyone in your organization needs have this mindset: 

We are the ultimate experience provider. We will not be oversold. In fact if you can find it more expensive somewhere else, we will raise our prices and match it. 

Don’t compete in price wars; compete in experience wars – Sound crazy? Well if that was truly your mindset, if it was everyone’s mindset in your company, it would change your approach to the experience you provide. It would force us to deliver the ultimate experience. Personally, I get upset if I find out that someone is charging more for something either of my businesses sell. I start to think, what are they providing that we aren’t? Is it quality, consistency, or Customer service? What is it? We need to improve our game and be proud of what we charge relative to the experience we deliver.

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Most people could care less if 92% of brands disappeared; The Harvard of CX
February 11, 2015, 8:50 am
Filed under: Customer Service

Is your brand meaningful to people? The Meaningful Brand Index, conducted by Havas Media Group, is used to measure the benefit brands bring to people’s lives and ranks over 700 brands among 134,000 consumers in 23 countries using 12 “areas of well-being.” Each brand is ranked based on the effect it has on quality of life for consumers. This study revealed some interesting findings, two that struck me, 1) brands in the Meaningful Brands Index beat the stock market by 120% and 2) most people in the United States would not care if 92% of brands disappeared tomorrow. 

 *Related: How you can become the brand your Customers cannot live without

201B & the 5:30 haircut – All businesses battle with going on autopilot and, from time to time, becoming numb to their Customers’ conditions. While consulting with a large hospital, I found out that too often their  nurses and doctors would refer to patients as “201B.” Saying something like “201B needs their medicine.” They were saying room 201, bed B, instead of the patient’s name. At John Robert’s Spa, we are guilty of doing something very similar. Our service providers can look at their next guest as a “5:30 haircut.” However, we have guests who ask their family members to purchase them a gift certificate to our spa for their birthday. After they get it, they request a day off from work, have it on their calendar, and are counting down the days until they can get away from work, relationships, kids, and all the other stresses in their lives. They look forward to coming into the one place where they can relax and be rejuvenated, so they can leave and continue giving to everyone in their world. I can’t have my service providers looking at their next Customer as their 5:30 or their third-to-last appointment of the day, before they can go out or home. I need them to be present with each and every guest.

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Comcast renames Customer ‘A**hole Brown'; Paying less than $16 an hour not fair; you might be a bad boss
February 4, 2015, 4:33 pm
Filed under: Customer Service

Comcast at it again – Comcast had to be thrilled when 2014 came to an end, since it had one of the worst Customer Experience years to remember. However, they are starting off 2015 in similar style. Many times Customers are upset when they get their cable bill because of the unexpected charges they incurred. This time a Comcast Customer was irate when he received a bill, but it wasn’t because of the dollar amount. It was that his name was changed from Ricardo Brown to “Asshole Brown.” It appears that a Comcast employee changed Mr. Brown’s name in their system after the employee unsuccessfully tried to persuade him renew his contract. When the next bill came, his name had been changed. Making matters worse, Brown told Elliott that calls to the cable company and even a visit to a Comcast office couldn’t get the name changed. Comcast confirmed to The Huffington Post that the bill was real, and said the company was taking action. Read full story 

*Related – January CX Talk featuring interview with best selling author Rory Vaden

Paying Less than $16 per hour Not Fair – Some 5,700 Aetna employees received a substantial base-pay increase of $16 per hour because “paying them less was not fair,” says Chairman and CEO, Mark Bertolini. “Here we are, a Fortune 50 company, and we’re about to put these people into poverty, and I just didn’t think it was fair.” Bertolini says it is time for a paradigm shift in corporate America and his company is leading the charge. “We’re going to invest in them. We’re going to give them all a chance. We’re going to educate them into a new way, but we needed to engage them first,” he said. “That population was too worried about whether or not they could put food on the table, whether or not they could afford health insurance.” Bertolini explains, “We’ve sort of destroyed business after business in this country by looking at spreadsheets with numbers we call truth.” Instead, enterprises should consider both the hard and soft benefits that come with wage and benefit increases, including savings from lower turnover costs. Aetna spends about $120 million in expenses associated with rehiring and retraining each year, he said. 

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The end of Customer service training; No magic bullet; Calls still rule
January 28, 2015, 8:17 am
Filed under: Customer Service

No more training needed – We have heard it all: “I don’t have time to train our employees on Customer service” or “Customer service training is too expensive” or “It doesn’t work, they just go back to their old habits anyway” and “We do train them, on the first day of orientation we tell our employees to exceed Customer’s expectations.” So we listened and are helping you eliminate the need to train your employees on the art of Customer service. The vast majority of businesses view Customer service training as an expense versus an investment and barely train their employees on the soft skills, relationship building, and service recovery anyway. So instead of fighting the battle of the old-thinking paradigm, The DiJulius Group has come up with a revolutionary, back-through device that will eliminate the need to train your employees on Customer service and you actually will get better results! Sounds too good to be true? Introducing the ZAPPER! 

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More important Hiring or Training? Attitude Wars
January 22, 2015, 7:18 am
Filed under: Customer Service

The following is content taken from John’s newly released book The Customer Service Revolution: Overthrow Conventional Business, Inspire Employees, and Change the World (January 2015 Greenleaf Books) Which became an instant best seller on Amazon.


What is more important: Hiring or training? This topic is probably the oldest and biggest debate in Customer service. What is more important: How well you hire, or the training and culture you bring your new employees into? While both are very important, 75 percent is the Customer service training and service culture of your company. Do you really think that Disney has found and hired fifty thousand amazing service-minded people? There probably aren’t fifty thousand people walking the earth who were born to serve. Companies like Disney find good people and put them in such a strong service and training environment that doesn’t allow for or accept anything less than excellence. One of my favorite lines is, ‘that Walt Disney World organization doesn’t put their people in Disney, they put Disney in their people.’


Attitude wars – In a blog post titled “The Truth About the War for Talent,” author Seth Godin writes about how HR departments like to talk about engaging in a war for talent; however, it is really about finding good enough people at an acceptable rate of pay. What I like to call “reactively hiring anyone,” or “hiring anyone with a pulse.” Godin points out it shouldn’t be a search for talent-but rather a search for attitude:


There are a few jobs where straight up skills are all we ask for . . . What actually separates winners from losers isn’t talent, it’s attitude. And yes, we ought to be having a war for attitude . . . The best news is that attitude is a choice, and it’s available to all. You can probably win the war for attitude with the people you’ve already got.

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The 6 Components of a Customer’s Experience; True Gratitude
January 13, 2015, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Customer Service
Customer loyalty is your organizations strongest asset. 2015 has to be about how you are going to make your Customer Experience your distinct competitive advantage. Before you can move forward creating a strategy, your leadership team needs to give your Company’s Customer Experience a checkup to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. 
The Six Components of a Customer’s Experience 
In order to create brand loyalty and Customer evangelists, you must operate at a high level in six distinct areas of business and constantly evaluate your company’s Customer experience across each category: 
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.” 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. 


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