John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

2014 Customer Service Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame lists are out
September 30, 2014, 7:32 am
Filed under: Customer Service

The 2014 Customer service Hall of Fame – 24/7 Wall St. commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct an on-line national survey in which 2,500 randomly chosen respondents rated Customer service at 150 of the best-known companies in the country. Fifteen industries are represented in the study. It probably won’t surprise you that for the fifth consecutive time, the highest-rated company was

Top 5 on Customer Service Hall of Fame:

1. – As the largest on-line shopping site in the world, it offers a level of convenience that is difficult for other businesses to match. The company’s roots as a technology company also help Customer service. The site maintains the Customers’ purchase history and makes suggestions accordingly.  To the extent that Customer service leads to better financial performance, is clearly doing something right. The on-line retailer reported sales of $74.5 billion last year –nearly triple the 2009 sales of $24.5 billion!  Read past eService about Amazon To be the most Customer-centric company in the world.

Related: How Cleveland has become the Customer service capital of the world

2. Hilton Worldwide has the best Customer service of any hotel company in the United States. The company has a long track record of pioneering new initiatives to win the satisfaction of its guests. Hilton has been able to maintain its Customer service focus despite being one of the largest hotel chains in the world, with over $9.7 billion in revenue and more than 4,000 hotels and resorts system wide.

3. Marriott International – Marriott has been among Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year since the magazine started producing the list in 1998, one of only a handful of companies to achieve this. Read past eService about Marriott Empathy outweighs Action.

4. Chick-fil-A  is the sole restaurant in the 2014 Customer Service Hall of Fame. Chick-fil-A’s Customer service track record includes a number of innovative ideas. The chain’s employees appear to be satisfied as well. In 2014, Chick-fil-A was rated one of the best companies to work for by Read past eService about Chick-fil-A To make every guest feel cared for in way that cannot be duplicated.

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ATM delivers world-class service; Restaurant bans all kids; Cell phone turns into hotel room key
A Secret Service ATM - A Canadian Bank, TD Bank, thanks their most regular Customers in the most personalized and heartfelt way. Being a “regular” means you build relationships with employees. And if the employees are trained well, listening and recording your Customer intelligence, a business can provide Secret Service. TD Bank demonstrates this better than anyone I have ever seen, as they turn their ATMs into “Automated Thanking Machines.” Wait ’til you see their Customers’ reactions to the amazing surprises TD Bank delivers in this 4 minute must see video, which has been viewed over 11 million times already.

Read John’s full article on…

World’s friendliest restaurant; Service Wins in any culture
The world’s friendliest restaurant - Tim’s Place may have my favorite service vision ever: “World’s Friendliest Restaurant.” One rule to creating a Customer service vision statement is it shouldn’t be too over arching, too unrealistic. It needs to be actionable, every time, by every employee, with every Customer. Guess what? Tim’s Place delivers on their service vision! Why? Because service aptitude starts at the top, and their leader, Tim, possesses the highest service aptitude I have ever seen. Tim’s Place is a unique full-service restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, serving breakfast and lunch. Their service vision statement captures exactly who they are and what one can expect when visiting them. The famous quote from Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” has been the driving force behind the life of Tim Harris. Born in 1986 with Down Syndrome, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations.

We offer Breakfast, Lunch, and HUGS - After working several years in the restaurant industry as a Host and seeing the impact Tim had on people by the way he greeted them, Tim’s parents decided Tim should own his own restaurant. In 2010, Tim’s Place opened for business, where they offer Breakfast, Lunch, and Hugs. “The key to our concept is the Customer service experience. We believe that people have a huge appetite for being genuinely welcomed, connected with, touched, appreciated, and genuinely cared for. We believe too many experiences in our busy modern lives are impersonal, sterile, and devoid of genuine human connection,” so states the Tim’s Place website. You have to watch this amazing three minute video on Tim and his restaurant. I guarantee you will want to share this with your staff.

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Where the Hell is Matt? Hotel charges for bad reviews; Making boring task an Experience
September 9, 2014, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Customer Service

Hotel charges Customers for negative reviews - Charging Customers for negative reviews is one of the shadiest things I have ever seen. Companies bury these “fines” in places that most Customers would rarely see. A hotel in Hudson, New York, called The Union Street Guest House, thought it was a good idea. The hotel charges guests $500 for writing negative reviews online. Their policy for events and wedding parties was posted on their website, however due to the media attention this received, the hotel has removed this policy.  It stated:


“There will be a $500 dollar fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding even if you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.”


Policies galore - Reading all their “policies” must really make potential Customers jump at the chance to make reservations at this hotel. The following are just a few of examples of their policies:

  • “We only honor certain gift cards and at certain times/days of the year. We do not accept gift cards or gift certificates without prior notification. You will be charged up front per a regular reservation and refunded when you present your card or certificate upon arrival.”
  • “We only accept cancellations via email and you must receive a response from us in order for you to have an approved cancellation. ”
  • “There will be a $35 charge for any cancellation (per room).”


Can your Customers live without you? Apple #1 at brand loyalty

Apple -Top Brand Customers cannot live without - For the third consecutive year, Apple was named the top brand consumers can’t live without. Other companies that consumers couldn’t live without were Amazon, Dell, Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft and of course Starbucks – former presenter at the Summit.

Are you brave enough to ask the tough questions? Most companies that do Customer satisfaction surveys ask the typical questions:

  1. How satisfied are you?
  2. How likely are you to continue to do business with us?
  3. How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or associate?

These are all good questions that should be asked. However, they don’t measure true emotional connections made with the Customer. That requires a different set of questions, a different mindset, company confidence and the courage to ask.

Can you imagine a world without Ritz-Carlton? The Ritz-Carlton has a strong tradition of measuring Customer satisfaction. However, if you ever stay at The Ritz and are asked to take their satisfaction survey, you may find some questions that seem a bit unusual like, “I can’t imagine a world without Ritz-Carlton.” While this may seem like an odd question, the Ritz-Carlton Hotels are not merely trying to measure guest satisfaction, but rather Customer engagement. It is a better metric of the emotional connection and perceived fit held by a Customer toward a business, and overall Customer loyalty.

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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!




Red Lobster + your server, Taylor

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Cell Phones are to blame for restaurants’ slow service; The Experience Economy
August 19, 2014, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Customer Service

Are cell phones to blame? I found this study fascinating. After a New York City restaurant kept getting bad reviews for slow service, they decided to compare surveillance footage from 2004 to 2014.  They discovered shocking results. So much so, they posted their findings on Craigslist:


  • Out of 45 Customers seated, 3 requested to be seated elsewhere.
  • Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order.
  • Appetizers arrive within 6 minutes. Out of 45 Customers 2 sent items back.
  • After guests are done, the check delivered, and within 5 minutes they leave.
  • Average time from start to finish: 1:05


  • Out of 45 Customers seated, 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.
  • Before even opening the menu they take their phones out.
  • 7 out of the 45 Customers had a problem connecting to the WIFI and ask the waiters for help.
  • Finally the waiters are walking over to the table to see what the Customers would like to order. The majority have not even opened the menu and ask the waiter to come back.
  • This happens again.
  • Average time from when the Customer was seated until they placed their order – 21 minutes.
  • Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes.
  • 26 out of 45 Customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food.
  • 14 out of 45 Customers take pictures of each other with the food in front of them or as they are eating the food. This takes on average another 4 minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.
  • 9 out of 45 Customers sent their food back to reheat.
  • 27 out of 45 Customers asked their waiter to take a group photo.
  • 14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo.
  • Given in most cases the Customers are constantly busy on their phones, it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check.
  • Furthermore once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago for them to pay and leave.
  • Average time from start to finish: 1:50

Read John’s Full Article on TheDiJulius

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