John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


How to make Customers fall in LOVE with your brand

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Call Centers are dead

Director of First Impression - Often the contact/call center is the only interaction Customers ever have with companies, which would then make sense that organizations should ensure they have an incredible experience. Unfortunately, that is typically not the case. There are several reasons (see past eService white collar sweat shops) besides management not giving call centers the resources and training necessary.  The Customer service representatives’ responsibilities have evolved significantly. Today they are asked to do so much more, juggling multiple channels of communications.

 

Relationship Centers – Companies have to look differently at their call centers and the roles of their Customer service reps. It is no longer a call center, but rather a relationship center. I seriously recommend naming and referring to your call center (or contact center) as Relationship Centers. This will help everyone from within the company (executives to the Customer service reps) to think differently about this critical part of the organization. In a great article titled, ” The Future of Contact Centers in the Age of the Customer,” Nicola Millard shared a study done with contact center experts, which revealed that they expect web-chat to become one of the primary ways Customers will communicate with companies. As Customers are increasingly starting their journey online or on a smartphone, web-chat is an easy way of having a conversation without leaving their browser or app. Video chat is also expected to explode in the next five years (see past eService Virtual Engagement).

 

Guardians of your Customer experience – Contact centers are more critical than ever to businesses. Today they are the ones that understand Customer demands, what Customers are contacting organizations about. Companies need to shift from the old paradigm of a “call factory” to relationship builders and “guardians of the Customer experience.” Companies also need to change  the traditional key performance indicators (KPI’s) for contact centers. These might be transactional metrics like average call handling time – which is not Customer centric (see past eService on Measuring the wrong metrics). Like anything, if you don’t have executive sponsorship, nothing will change.

 

Collecting Customer intelligence from…Customers – With the rise of the social media era, Customers are more empowered than ever to have access to, and influence information about themselves and their experiences.  Some companies (Testra puts Customers first) have decided to allow Customers to access and edit their account notes and preferences in their CRM systems. The theory is Customers will provide better, more accurate information, which will allow Customer service reps to build stronger relationships when they interact with their customers.  This also shifts some of the database maintenance from the employee to Customer, saving the company resources and time. Do you think giving Customers access to their information will be a good or bad thing?

 

 

 

 

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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Social media rebellion, Department of Customer defense

The Social Media Rebellion – Social media has turned Customer service upside down. No advancement has disrupted

the Customer-care landscape on the same order of magnitude – or as quickly — as social media (past eService biggest influence on Customer service in the last 50 years). Today, more than ever before, Customers are informed and empowered, and they expect personalization and quick responses. In the past, a company had the ability to respond (or not) on their own timetable, but now the fact is your Customer has instant access to social media, which means instant access to thousands of people. Consumers now have personal platforms and the ability to broadcast the good, the bad, and the ugly pertaining to their favorite (or least favorite) brands with the click (or the tap) of a finger. For better or worse, social media has also shone a spotlight on a brand’s approach to Customer care – fails, successes, and all.

  

Department of Customer Defense – Companies need to make sure they have proper procedures in place to handle their Customer’s reaction on social media. If not, then you run the risk of a potential nightmare (see past eService It’s About Time). Here are some keys:

  1. You need to know about it. There are numerous software choices that will automatically notify you anytime your company gets mentioned on social media channels. 
  2. Respond ASAP. It takes years to build a brand’s reputation and seconds to ruin it. Don’t be vulnerable to brand terrorism. Be aggressive, with both positive and negative comments. Thank and address publicly and privately if needed.
  3. Make it easy for Customers to share and give feedback, even if it is constructive. Most companies are only hearing from a small percentage of unsatisfied Customers. How often do you have a poor Customer experience and don’t bother to tell anyone at that business? If we advertise to our Customers that we want to hear about their experience, good or bad, it dramatically increases the amount that will share, both good and bad. What they are not telling you, they are telling their friends. Today that could be thousands of people in a click of a mouse. 

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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Is Your Customer Experience Suffering from Short-Sightedness?

In this eService we are excited to be featuring an article from Annette Franz, who is an excellent customer service blogger.

 

Is your company short-sighted when it comes to focusing on the customer?

 

I’ve been using the phrase “short-sighted” a lot lately, and it got me thinking about how too many companies are short-sighted when it comes to customer experience management. If you’re not familiar with the phrase, Merriam-Webster defines it as: not considering what will or might happen in the future; made or done without thinking about what will happen in the future.

 

Does that sound like it applies to any companies you know? Unfortunately, too many of them still either don’t think about the future customer experience* or think focusing on the customer experience is a one and done/project. It’s not; it’s a journey, as we know. As such, we need to envision the experience not only for now but also for well into the future.

 

*I confess. Many of them still don’t think about customer experience, period.

 

What are some of the symptoms of customer experience short-sightedness?

  • Operating in the moment, for the moment
  • Making decisions in the moment, for the moment
  • Operating in a “siloed” manner
  • Failing to make decisions based on what’s important to the customer
  • Thinking that the purpose of the business is to maximize shareholder value
  • Not putting the customer at the center of business decisions today and every day
  • Failing to view customer experience management as an enterprise-wide discipline
  • Not sharing the corporate or customer experience vision with employees
  • Not helping employees understand the importance of a great customer experience, how they contribute, and how their contributions matter
  • Failing to focus on the big picture, the end game, the outcomes
  • Or focusing on the wrong outcomes
  • Not considering the employee experience and its impact on the customer experience

How do we avoid short-sightedness in our customer experience management efforts?

 

Start with a vision. Your customer experience vision will be inspirational and aspirational; it will outline what you see as the future state of the customer experience. It will briefly describe the experience you plan to deliver. And it will serve as a guide to help choose future courses of action. That little statement packs a lot of punch!

 

Having a vision shows you understand it’s a journey.

 

Some customer experience vision tips include: 

  • It should align with the company vision
  • Even better, the corporate vision is the customer experience vision
  • The vision will guide your strategy
  • Strategy drives execution and subsequent actions
  • Business decisions should be made based on this vision
  • It is internal
  • It must be communicated
  • It must have commitment and buy-in from those who live it, execute on it (shared vision)
  • All employees must know how they contribute to, and align with, the vision
  • The vision should motivate, inspire
  • Revisit it at a regular interval to ensure that it still reflects the experience you want to deliver

Need some inspiration?  Here are a few examples of corporate vision statements from brands you know well.

 

Amazon: To be the earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.


San Diego Zoo: To become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation.

Avon: To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service, and self-fulfillment needs of women – globally.

IKEA: The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. We make this possible by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.

Kraft Foods: Helping people around the world eat and live better.

The Walt Disney Corporation: To make people happy.

Toyota: Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people. Through our commitment to quality, constant innovation, and respect for the planet, we aim to exceed expectations and be rewarded with a smile. We will meet our challenging goals by engaging the talent and passion of people, who believe there is always a better way.

 

Can any of these double as customer experience vision statements, too? What’s your customer experience vision? How do you inspire employees every day to deliver a great customer experience?

 

The very essence of leadership is [that] you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. -Theodore Hesburgh

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Annette Franz is a customer experience executive focused on improving both customer and employee experiences. Through her blog, CX Journey, Annette shares her passion for helping companies understand the importance of the employee experience and its role in delivering an exceptional customer experience, as well as how to transform their cultures to ensure the customer is at the center of every conversation. She is currently Director, VOC Consulting at Confirmit.

  

 

 



Creating a World-Class Employee Experience, Part 2

 

Employee Engagement, Part 2- Written by Senior Customer Service Consultant Dave Murray

 

If you recall, in Employee Engagement Part 1, we focused on a Harvard Business Review post written by Rob Markey.  In the post, “The Four Secrets to Employee Engagement,” Markey focuses on some recent findings from a Bain and Company study conducted across the globe.  The purpose of today’s article is to focus on one of the solutions the Bain and Co. study identified, and to discuss a little further.

 

Supervisors are the key - One of the big takeaways from the study was that supervisors lead the engagement charge, not the human resources department.  When reading this result, I immediately thought of a great piece of data that we at The DiJulius Group use when working on Commandment II, World Class Internal Culture, with our clients.  This data was uncovered by The Hay Group and Gallup, and reported by The Blanchard Companies in The Retention Challenge…

 

“The single most important determinant of an individual’s

performance and commitment to stay with the organization is the

relationship with his or her immediate manager. People leave their

manager far more often than they leave the organization.”

 

I think this is such important information that is too often overlooked.  Think about your own organization for a moment.  How often do employees get promoted to a supervisory role simply because they performed the job function well?  All of the time, right?  Well, I agree that performing the job well is an important piece of the puzzle.  All too often, that is the only determining factor considered.  Does the candidate relate well with others?  Do they know how to build and cultivate relationships?  Are they able to hold candid conversations with people that may have once been peers?  Do they know the importance of leading by example?

 

Typically, the answer is no.  Instead, the newly promoted supervisors often resorts to making their presence felt by finding as many flaws and mistakes as possible.  In order to demonstrate their newly found power, write-ups and negative reinforcement abound.  The initial, short-term results can be seen as a tightening-up of what had become a loosely run operation.  Sometimes this may be true, but all too often, this behavior is causing severe long-term damage to a department.

 

While discipline and accountability are vital to the success of any organization, they must co-exist with relationship building and positive reinforcement.  A great exercise we utilize with Clients at The DiJulius Group is the F.O.R.D. challenge.  FORD is an acronym that stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams.  I suggest you try this with you supervisory team to get a baseline of where you stand.

 

The exercise is simple:  Have your supervisors write down the names of five employees that report to them.  Then, ask them to write down five pieces of FORD on each.  This information is key to gather and utilize when building a relationship with anyone… Customers, employees, etc.  One slight change occurs when gathering FORD on employees.  We obviously already know where they work and what they do, but do we know where they want to go?  Do we know what position or department they are working toward joining?  As a supervisor or manager, this information is vital to the relationship.

 

Back to the exercise. Have each supervisor write down five pieces of FORD on the five employees they have selected.  If they nail it on all five, that is great news.  Typically, the first one or two employees can be somewhat easy, but this exercise can become very difficult very quickly.  It can open the eyes of managers and supervisors to the fact that they know very little about the people they rely on daily.  It creates an opportunity for growth and development that will not only help your employees, but ultimately your Customers as well!

 

I encourage you to try this exercise and determine your internal FORD baseline, and I would love to hear your results!

 

 

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Creating a World-Class Employee Experience

 

Employee Engagement, part 1- Written by Senior Customer Service Consultant Dave Murray

 

Internal Focus - So many organizations want to treat their customers well, yet so few take the time to consider their employees in the equation.  Don’t get me wrong, several organizations provide great annual service training programs, service related contests, etc., but how many take the time to focus on how they are treating their employees – the people who are actually interacting with customers.  The quick answer is, not enough.  All too often we hear leaders proclaim: “We are a great team, everyone loves it here,” “our employees love our culture,” or even the dreaded “they are lucky to have this job.”  The truth is, the first two are very often based on a gut feel rather than data, and the last one is obviously coming from a leader that flat out does not care that much about employees.

 

Earlier this year, Rob Markey wrote a telling blog regarding employee engagement for Harvard Business Review titled, “The Four Secrets to Employee Engagement.” I personally have always been a big proponent of organizations actively cultivating and reinforcing employee engagement.  Think about it for a minute: If your employees are not engaged with your company, how can you expect them to convey the proper message, sense of ownership, and pride to your customers?  They can’t.  If they are not properly engaged, they are simply going through the motions until they decide to finally leave.  If your employees do not feel engaged, any customer service training you do will not stick for the long term.  You may see some short-term success and momentum, but without true engagement, old habits will eventually return.

 

World Class - That is why when we work with a client here at The DiJulius Group, Creating a World-Class Internal Culture is the second of the 10 Commandments. Once we set the compass by creating the Service Vision, we then want to make sure that employees are on-board with the organization and fully engaged in their roles.   Our Internal Culture process makes sure that employees are engaged and feeling appreciated whether they are just being recruited, or have been with the company 15 years.

 

The Findings - In his blog, Rob Markey shared some startling data recently uncovered in a Bain and Company study that surveyed 200,000 employees.  As you read these, think of your own organization.  I’ll bet you can think of some real-life examples.  The number one finding was that engagement scores decline with tenure.  So, the people who know the most and probably are paid more are likely to be less engaged.

 

Finding #2 from the Bain and Company study was that engagement scores decline as you travel down the organizational chart.  Remember earlier how we mentioned leaders assessing culture based on feel?  Too often, leaders may be getting a false sense of security regarding engagement when only interacting with fellow senior leaders.

 

The last finding brought to light in the study was that engagement levels tend to be lowest among folks in sales and service – also known as the people dealing with customers the most!  All three findings are concerning, but to me, this one is the most serious. 

 

Honest Assessment - I urge all leaders to take some time to honestly assess the level of engagement in your organization.  In my next article, we will discuss some ways to begin to cultivate a culture of engagement.  In the meantime, I would love to hear your examples of disengagement, or ways you have found to improve your engagement levels.

 

To be continued…

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Anytime Secret Service; Branson’s Customer service tips

Secret Service Anytime – Anytime Fitness, the world’s largest and fastest-growing coed fitness club chain, has as their service vision: “To Be Surprisingly Personable.” If you think about it, to be surprisingly personable is identical to the Secret Service definition: ‘The ability to obtain Customer intelligence and utilize that to personalize the Customer’s experience, leaving the Customer to ask, “How’d they do that, and how’d they know that?”  To be able to do that with every Customer, every time, they had to create an incredible Secret Service system.  A member uses a key fob (keyless entry device) to enter the Anytime Fitness facility. This triggers their information, such as their name and their picture to pop up on their Customer management software called ‘Club Hub.’  The member’s picture will stay up on the screen as long as they are working out in the club.  At any moment, a manager or team member can view a picture with a name and even some Customer intelligence of the member, and then engage them by saying something to the effect, “Hey Jim, great to see you again. Third workout this week!  Great job.”  Check out how the Anytime Fitness franchisees, who attended my workshop in San Antonio, TX, got into the Customer Service Revolution.

 

Customer service tips from Branson – Virgin Airline founder, Sir Richard Branson, constantly credits Customer service as the primary reason why his companies are so successful. The following are the what Branson thinks are critical in building an excellent Customer service company that appeared in a  blog written by Tricia Morris on Parature.com, read the entire article:

 

1.     Set realistic Customer expectations 

2.     Hire the right people and empower them to do the right thing

3.     Respond ASAP to Customers

4.     Make a good first, and even better second, impression

5.     Customer service is your differentiator

 

As loyalty plummets, banks are trying to get personal - Only a few months ago several banks announced a teller tax, charging Customers an extra fee for face-to-face teller interaction (see past eService Teller Tax). The growing mobile banking trend with minimal human interaction has resulted in minimal emotional connection and minimal Customer loyalty. To try to win Customers back, some banks are now offering interactive ATMs, aka virtual tellers. As reported in the Washington Post, Interactive teller machines offer the ability for Customers to complete a number of financial transactions via two-way video that allows them to communicate with bank workers in remote locations.

 

Download: How to Build a World-Class Call Center webinar- Last week The DiJulius Group’s Senior Consultant, Dave Murray, presented a webinar on How to Build a World-Class Call Center.  Murray shared how companies can easily implement proven tips and improve the service delivery with systems that apply to both your Customers and your own employees. You can now replay this 30-minute webinar for free using password TDG423WEB. You can also download the MP3 audio and PDF of Dave’s slides using your DiJulius Group online account, with access code TDG423WEB.

 

 

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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