John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

Have you had your Experiential Physical?

Have you had an Experiential Physical this year?


  Have you done one in awhile? Have you audited your customer experience stages to ensure you are not just delivering on operational standards to your customer? Companies who only focus on operational standards are delivering a commodity, just like everyone else.

Let’s visit the difference between Operational and Experiential, Commandment 5 in What’s the Secret?

Operational Standards are the “service” portion of the interaction. Employees have to execute these in order to complete the transaction. Your competitors do it, and it is unnoticeable by the customer unless it is not done.

Experiential Standards are actions that team members do not necessarily have to execute (even though it may be a company non-negotiable standard). It is what makes the customer say, “WOW!” It’s a delightful surprise such as knowing the customer’s name, company history, personal history, and preferences, before they even ask. It is the reason why our customers return, refer others and become brand evangelists.

Here are a few examples of Operational vs. Experiential.

Scheduling an appointment at a salon and dealing with the reservationist over the phone:

Operational Standards

  • Receptionist answers phone
  • Finds out:
  1. Service wanted
  2. Time
  3. Service provider
  4. Location

  • Schedules appointment

Experiential Standards

  • Genuine, welcoming and personalized greeting
  • Use customer’s name 2 or more times
  • Deliver at least 1 Secret Service (something about them, ask how their last visit was in January, where they work, live, personal notes, etc.?
  • Ask if there is anything else we can do for you today

Checking in at a hotel at the front desk:


Operational Standards

  • Receptionist greets you
  • Asks for name on the reservation
  • Asks to see your driver’s license & credit card
  • Has you initial the room rate & day of departure
  • Hands you your room keys

Experiential Standards

  • Receptionist executes the 5 E’s
  1. Eye contact
  2. Enthusiastic greeting
  3. Ear-to-Ear smile
  4. Engages
  5. Educates
  • Asks how your trip in from Chicago was (from your driver’s license)
  • Ask if there is anything else we can do for you today

Operational Standards are critical to world-class customer service; however, they are what everyone is doing, and alone, they make your experience a commodity. The only time operational is memorable is when it is not done correctly. If the customer arrives and the salon has the appointment done correctly, the customer is not impressed. Every company needs to have Experiential Standards that elevate the experience, sweetens the interaction, and makes it memorable.




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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