John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

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.

Google & Amazon are affecting the way you do business, who is really your Customer?

Who really is your Customer? Ask your employees in every department whom their true Customer is and you will get varying answers. Truth is, your primary Customer is the person you communicate with directly on a day-to-day basis and who is affected the most by the work you do. In the business-to-business world, manufacturing and corporate office settings, the Customer is mostly internal people that work at the same organization; positions like management, administration, IT, HR, Marketing, Regional Sales Managers, warehouse, Branch Managers, Legal, and Regional Directors. Every single company I have ever worked with suffers from people in these positions truly not understanding who their Customers are, the person/group that is most dependent on their services. 


UPS’s Customer – While I was in college, I worked at United Parcel Service as a Pre-loader, loading trucks in the middle of the night. I was never told that my Customer was the package driver who drove the tuck I loaded and had to deliver those packages all day. When I didn’t do as good of a job as I could have, I would have drivers come in and share their frustration with me. I just blew them off as jerky co-workers. Then after I graduated from college, I got promoted to a UPS driver and I realized that my daily success was predicated on how well my truck was loaded and organized. Some days it was horrible.  I would find packages at 3 pm in the back of my truck that I should have delivered at 10 am, when I was on the other side of town. Now I had to back track, making me late to get all my stops in on time and I would get home late.  UPS missed a golden opportunity to teach loaders who their real Customer was and how we impacted their day. As I said earlier, in most businesses, front-line employees have never been their own Customer, don’t know what it is like to be in their Customers’ shoes, and have little empathy and compassion for how / what they do affects their Customer.


It’s about TIME – It doesn’t matter what industry you are in today, companies like Google, Zappos, and Amazon have affected your business.  They have now affected the expectations of your Customers. It is all about time and the world of the Internet that has made everything instantaneous, from information, answers to questions, to products in people’s hands. Today a friend can recommend a good book for you to read and within 30 seconds it is on your kindle and in your hands.  There are companies like Zappos and other great retailers that can have a product at your door the next morning if you order it by 6 pm. This has not only changed Customers’ expectations for everyone with whom they do business, but it has also changed their level of patience. Customers expect phone calls and emails to be returned the same day, if not sooner, as well as support and resolutions to their issues. They expect you to find the product they are looking for; not to be told they can go home and search the Internet themselves.  In his book, The Amazement Revolution, author Shep Hyken shares a story on how the Four Season’s Hotel understands the critical importance of their Customers’ time.






You can have a great product, but it takes world-class service to create brand 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.

Russia’s Customer Service Overhaul; Your Director of First Impressions

Director of First Impressions - In a professional office environment, when you might get less than a dozen scheduled visitors a day, a great and easy Secret Service system is to display a sign welcoming people who have appointments that day, i.e. “ABC would like to welcome Joanna Smith.”  At The DiJulius Group this responsibility falls on the Director of First Impressions, the first person our guests see as they walk into our office.With the aid of Social Media platforms, such as LinkedIn, we personalize this sign so our welcome monitor doesn’t just display our client’s name, but their picture and logo as well. This provides a unique experience for the visitor; it also educates the staff on who to expect, at what time and what that person looks like so they can recognize them by name.


Picture the traditional office visit experience: You have an appointment at your accountant’s office or you are interviewing for a new job, you walk into the business and the receptionist says, “Can I help you?” You say, “Yes, I am here to see Mike Jones.” The receptionist asks, “What’s your name?” You tell her, and she notifies the person and eventually Mike comes out to welcome you. 


Now imagine walking into an office for an appointment and you see a monitor that welcomes you by name and displays your picture. The receptionist says, “Hi, Joanna.  It’s is nice to see you. Mike is expecting you, so let me tell him you have arrived. Can I get you some coffee, tea or water?” On top of that, two or three other people greet you by name as they walk by.


Customer Service Huddle – Carter Mario Injury Lawyers has six fully staffed offices across the state of Connecticut. Keeping everyone engaged in the firm’s Customer service culture can be difficult across multiple locations. While the firm conducts early morning “huddles” every day before work begins, Wednesday mornings are especially

reserved to discuss Customer service. Using video conferencing technology, each office can see and hear each other in real time, and discuss topics like “how do you take ownership of challenges in your life?” Everyone benefits by hearing the responses of each office, and it keeps the multiple locations connected with a common focus. See more of Carter Mario’s world-class hospitality best practices.


Russian Hospitality?  An article in the New York Times shared how Russia is trying to remove the stereotype of scowls, cold stares and unfriendly encounters, Russia is attempting to change that image. Russian Customer service has been a hot topic and a transformative trend brought about by the rising demand of middle class consumers. The main message: Smile and be friendly. Some have even predicted that Russia will soon leapfrog the West in Customer service.  Read entire article





 The answer’s yes…now what’s the question?


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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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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4 Simple Ways to Start Your Revolution

4 Simple Ways to Start Your Revolution

by Dave Murray 

Senior Customer Service Consultant for The DiJulius Group


As the calendar changed from 2013 to 2014, many magazines, websites and blogs began to publish articles about becoming more productive, becoming more organized.  Many of these go under the premise that the first few weeks of the year are slow for most, and they attempt to focus on a few easy ways to kick-start the process in hopes of developing some new good habits.


These articles got me thinking:  What are the best ways to kick-start a Customer Service Revolution throughout your organization?  Don’t get me wrong; the process is not necessarily an easy one.  When we engage our clients to revolutionize their Customer Service, it is a systematic approach that includes multiple workshops producing deliverables such as training manuals, customized training tools and new methodologies designed to maintain momentum.


That being said, what can one do if he or she is looking to simply begin the process of making things better for both Customers and employees?  Here are my top four ways to get things moving in the right direction – and these are all things you can work into your day, whether you are experiencing a winter slow down, or your days are busier than ever.


1)   Use “F.O.R.D.” on your employees - FORD is the acronym we use for the information you need to gather on clients, suppliers, employees, etc. in order to really build quality relationships.  FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams.  All things that people love to talk about, and that will help us grow a relationship.


Think about this for a moment: How much information do you know regarding the people who report to you?  If you can list five things per employee– good for you.  If you cannot, there’s no better time than now to start.  By the way, we are not recommending that you begin interrogating or even re-interviewing your employees for these important bits of information.  Simply make sure that you take the time to have quality conversations with your employees, and work FORD related questions into the discussion when appropriate.


2)   Make a connection - Use your Customers’ names.  You have heard it before, and it is true – the sweetest sound to a human being is his or her own name.  There is no better way to connect with another human being than using their name, whether it is on the phone or in person.  If you are in a phone center or a Customer-facing area, challenge your employees to get the Customer’s name and then use it.  Many times getting the name is the easy part.  So many of us are in situations where the Customers must give us their names. But do we all use the very useful information other than just looking up an account?


It is one thing to tell your team to use names, yet it is quite another to show them.  In a meeting, take some time to roll out the plan to connect, and use role-play to demonstrate to your team your anticipated end product.  Set a goal for the number of times (many organizations shoot for three times during an interaction), and then use the role playing to show how the name usage should be natural, never forced simply to hit a number.  Decide if your organization wants to address Customers by sir name, or if you want to connect on a first name basis.  In my opinion, this is primarily based on the standards that already exist within your industry.


3)   Give your team ways to say, Yes - Many companies say, “The Customer is always right,” or “No is not an option,” but very few companies teach their front-line teams how to say, Yes.  How do you do that?  One great way is to get your team together and ask them to track the top three to five things that they must say ‘no’ to over a period of time.  Then, as a group, find ways to say ‘yes.’  I am not suggesting that we change the way we do business, but what I am suggesting is that if there is a request that does require a ‘no’ for a legitimate reason, arm your team with alternative solutions.  Can’t refund the purchase? Make sure offering an exchange is top of mind, if feasible.  Get your team thinking that they are in the resolution business.  No challenge is too tough; find a positive in every negative.  Once you have set this guideline in motion, re-enforce it with the “No-No Game.”  As a group, throw out difficult ‘no’ questions, and make your team members come up with positive solutions on the spot.  It is a fun way to maintain momentum and celebrate successes.


4)   A day in the life - There is no better way for your employees to really focus on and connect with your Customers than to build empathy for them.  Empathy is that magic emotion that helps our teams to NOT treat the next person in line, or on hold, like a number.  Empathy helps our teams remember that this is the Customers’ time with us – no matter how many times we have heard their question today.


Many companies write, develop and create award-winning quality videos focused on the day in the life of Customers  that are then shown to existing team members during a kick off event, and then made part of the orientation process for all future employees.  The first step of this process when we are working with clients is to have team members break into small groups and write scripts based on combined real-life experiences they have had.  The real fun begins when the small groups are asked to act out the script they have created.  While you will not be producing an Oscar winner, you will be creating a fun way for your team to put themselves in the shoes of the people they serve – and hopefully begin to charge their way of thinking.   You will also be gathering some great storylines for when it comes time to create your video.


I hope that you will find with just a little time and effort, these four ideas can really get you moving in the right direction.  I am open to answer any questions, and hopefully hear some of your success stories! 





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10 Most Hated Companies; Café charges rude Customers more

A Rude Customer Tax – One business is charging rude Customers five times more for a cup of coffee than those who are more polite and say ‘hello’ and ‘please.’ A cafe owner in France has finally had enough with rude Customers and he’s decided that he’s no longer going to take it. Rude Customers will be charged more; call it a rude Customer tax. The café prices are posted for all to see.  One list of prices for polite Customers, and a more expensive list for rude Customers. This rude tax is obviously more of a joke; however, it has apparently been successful in making this café’s Customers be more respectful to the front-line employees. The manager of the café says Customers are being nicer as a result. Check out the full article Café charges extra to rude Customers.


TSA’s Customer service under scrutiny – House Representative Gerry Connolly is threatening to introduce a bill requiring the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to be more polite to their Customers, airline passengers. During a hearing about the TSA’s Screening Partnership Program, Connolly said passengers would likely cooperate more with TSA agents if the agency’s workers used better manners when they deliver their instructions. “There’s no excuse for a contractor or employee of the federal government barking orders continuously at the public at any airport in America,” Connolly said. “Every member of Congress is in the Customer service business. We experience what you experience. People aren’t all the same. Some people are very cooperative and some people can be less so. I happen to believe that the less pleasant the experience, (because we don’t get Customer service right … ) I actually think it contributes to less cooperation, resentment and a desire frankly not to cooperate. We don’t want that. We want people understanding our mission.” Connolly said he would consider introducing legislation to require the TSA to improve its Customer service if the agency did not make changes on its own. “I don’t understand how hard it is to teach people [to] make sure you use the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when you’re interacting with our public,” he said. Wow, someone in government who gets it.  Read full story Lawmaker threatens bill to make TSA more polite.


10 most hated companies in America – A well-known brand can take a nose dive quickly into today’s social media world.  Especially if that company alienates a large enough group of people, by angering their Customers with crappy service or employees with unpleasant working conditions or low pay. I call this brand terrorism, choosing to be greedy with short-term gains for long-term failures, sometimes irreversible. Many of the most-hated companies have millions of Customers and hundreds of thousands of workers. With this kind of reach, it’s important to keep employees happy in order to maintain decent Customer service. Often, poor job satisfaction leads to poor service and low Customer satisfaction. McDonald’s and Wal-Mart have risked this most recently as employees and some Customers have protested the low wages at these companies – low enough to put workers below the poverty line. Check out the 10 most hated companies in America.


Follow me - If you enjoy reading my weekly eService and would like to have more members of your organization receive it, email your list of co-workers’ emails to Nicole at and she can add them to our mailing list for you. Besides my weekly eService, I also post good articles I read and quotes daily on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.



 Don’t win the argument but lose the Customer


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.

What’s your company’s service aptitude level?
What’s the real Service Aptitude Level of your company?

Company Service Aptitude Test (C-SAT) – When it comes to Customer service, do you know the rating for your company, location or department? The DiJulius Group has created an incredibly powerful tool called the Company Service Aptitude Test. The C-SAT not only pinpoints the Service Aptitude Level of your organization, but more importantly, it lets management know where the strengths and opportunities are in order to get to the next level. The C-SAT is based on the Ten Commandments to providing a World-Class Customer experience from the groundbreaking book What’s the Secret? These are the 10 principles shared by every great Customer service organization. 
There are five levels of Customer service – It will take approximately 15 – 20 minutes to answer all the questions. Scores may then be averaged to find an overall company score. Every manager in your organization should take the C-SAT. These are the 10 principals shared by every great Customer service organization. Now your management can take the C-SAT.

Customized Group C-SAT – The DiJulius Group is able to compile and group the results for your entire organization or business unit. When you have every manager and senior executive take this test and then compare the results and individual answers to each question, you will be shocked at how they differ. For example, some leaders will give the highest rating (Extremely Accurate) while others will give the lowest rating (Extremely Inaccurate) for the identical question. It is critically important to uncover the reason why. Obviously someone, or maybe many people, have the wrong assumption that needs to be addressed. See sample report on one question below:



Shocking varying results –  In the example above, out of 20 managers who took this C-SAT for the same company, 3 managers (or 15%) answered “Extremely Accurate” for this questions, while 4 managers (or 20%) answered “Extremely Inaccurate”.  Those are the complete opposite answers for the same question and for the same company. When you go over this report with your management team, you not only uncover which parts of your organization’s Customer service need to be addressed, you uncover inconsistencies of management thinking.  This unique reporting service comes with a one-on-one consultation with one of our world-class consultants to go over the immediate opportunities that might surface. Contact Denise at to learn how this tool can be your first stepping-stone to becoming a World-Class Customer service organization. 


 Create raving team members and they will create raving clients 


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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