John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

Ashton Kutcher; Reverse Secret Service; Chick-fil-A’s Mission; Small companies losing

The Great Retail Experience Race: Local vs. National – Recently, Ashley Verrill, a Customer Service Analyst at Software Advice, did a six month study comparing the Customer experience of small, local-based retailers versus comparable national chain stores. The research was based on a team of 20 secret shoppers who conducted 200 site visits, each lasting at least 15 minutes. These secret shoppers were focused on things such as whether employees told them about sales or specials during their visit, or if anyone tried to upsell or cross-sell them.   


Small Businesses Losing Big to the Big Guys – In every industry category but one, the national store outperformed the local shop.  It appears the national retailers understand better the inherent value of upselling, cross-selling and running specials, and how those tactics maximize the marketing dollars spent getting that Customer in the door. This is an interesting article and features best-selling author Shep Hyken’s advice on why the national brands outperformed the local brands.


Starbucks puts names on their apron – There is nothing revolutionary about having name tags for your employee; however, until now, Starbucks has never done it. I am actually surprised it took them this long since Starbucks’ mission is to create an emotional connection.  I love the idea and was embarrassed that in over 20 years, John Robert’s Spa has never instituted this simple but extremely effective tool to help build stronger relationships with Customers. The more Customers know our name, the closer they feel, and vice versa. Each name tag is going to have three lines on it; team member’s first name, the year they started with JR and the third line will read, “My passion is…” and each person’s passion will be personalized to them.


Reverse Secret Service – This is reverse Secret Service, where clients learn and remember things about us and it helps start a conversation and connection for future visits.  I got this idea from Westin Hotels, who designed to encourage deeper relationships between hotel employees and guests. Westin executives said that the passion tags opened a dialogue between the company’s staff and its guests, and when guests start talking, they are much more forthcoming about any issues that might concern them during their stay.  A simple phrase on a nametag encourages guests to talk and engage, and find out similarities and common interests, thus helping to break down barriers and create emotional connections.


Chick-fil-A Mission is to be RemarkableThis means provide an experience that makes people ‘remark’ about it. I recently received an email from someone who works at a client The DiJulius Group consults with;


Hi John,


I now can see why you use Chick-fil-A as an example in your presentations. I recently visited one of their locations for lunch. When we entered, the door was opened for us and we were thanked for coming in today. That day it was raining really hard. When leaving Chick-fil-A, an employee walked me out to the car with an umbrella over my head so I wouldn’t get wet.  I have never had a WOW experience like that from anywhere, especially a fast food restaurant. When we were leaving after I got in the car, we were thanked for dining with them today.  They have increased the service level I now expect. That’s why, starting now,  I plan on not going to any other fast food restaurant.


Ashton Kutcher words of wisdom – I read on Verne Harnish’s ezine (excellent resource for fast growth companies) where he wrote about three ideas Ashton Kutcher (Steve Jobs in the movie Jobs) addressed in his Teen Choice Awards speech last week – a 4 minute speech that was applicable for teens and adults. I actually sent it out to all my managers.  



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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