John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


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!

 

Sincerely,

 

Red Lobster + your server, Taylor

Read John’s full story on TheDiJuliusGroup.com.

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Hootsuite gave it away free and ended up with 5 million Customers

Give it away and they will pay later – Recently the founder of HootSuite, Ryan Holmes, wrote an article titled, “How to Get 5 Million Customers with Zero Ad Budget,” and shared that for the first three years, HootSuite spent literally no money on marketing, PR or advertising. Rather they built their business on the freemium model. The majority of users, hundreds of thousands of them, paid absolutely nothing for the service. And, it worked! Especially because free users have no vested stake in you, and no long-term contract. If you don’t deliver, they’ll move elsewhere. To this day, over half of HootSuite’s paying Customers-including some of HootSuite’s biggest enterprise clients, were once non-paying, free users. As Holmes says, “put your energies into developing an irresistible product and loyal user base. Worry about making money later. I can’t imagine doing business any other way.”

 

Freemium – The word “freemium” is a combination of the words “free” and “premium.” It is a business practice in which you give your product or service away at first, grow an extremely large Customer base that eventually can’t live without you, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google, or in which you give a core product away for free to a large group of users and sell premium products to a smaller fraction of this user base, i.e. Skype, Dropbox, and Evernote.  All were built on freemium. While this seems to be a new technique applicable to internet-based companies, this is the way many businesses started off, including brick and mortar, building a Customer base and brand awareness. The following is the marketing plan we executed 20 years ago when we originally opened John Robert’s Spa and couldn’t afford to spend any money on advertising. The result? Two decades of consecutive positive sales growth. 

 

Full article….

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Matthew McConaughey’s hero

 

‘3 things I need in my life every day’ – This was the theme of actor Matthew McConaughey’s Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his part in Dallas Buyers Club. He needs “Someone to look up to, someone to look forward to, and someone to chase.”  My favorite part was the person he is chasing. “I am chasing my hero…my hero is me in 10 years. Every day, every week, every month, every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I am never going to be my hero, I am not going to attain that, I know I am not. That’s just fine with me, because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”  It is well worth the three and half minutes to watch McConaughey’s acceptance speech.

 

Virtual engagement – One big trend I see becoming a critical tool in helping Customer service reps, call centers, and anyone who uses conference calls to build stronger relationships — is virtual calls.  Picture your Customers having the ability to click a button on your website to have a Skype call with your employees. It may only be one way, where the Customer can see the employee only, or two- way where they can see each other. Regardless, seeing someone face-to-face forces employees to stay engaged, ensure they will not be distracted by anything else, increase the amount of smiling and overall friendliness.

 

‘I gave my best’ – This may sound mean or unsympathetic, but one of my least favorite sayings is ‘I gave my best’. To me it is an unacceptable crutch; I don’t want to hear it. My personal feeling is when the goal is to accomplish greatness, go where no one or team has gone before.  I wasn’t asking for your best effort; your best is what you WERE capable of in the past, previously. I was expecting you to figure it out, try 1,000 ways, and if need be, try another 1,000 ways.  Innovate, lose sleep, get around it, find loopholes, research, sweat like you never have before. Every extraordinary accomplishment, invention or revolution was not a result of someone giving his or her best. Somehow that person or group found a way to do what no one else could do, they did the impossible, they did what no one had ever done before. The real issue is not the effort that is in question at the moment or during the event, it’s the effort leading up to it. Whether you win or lose, get the sale, or ace the test, it is all determined in the effort given in preparing for the event. Every match is determined long before the contest happens. So the next time you fail, before you want to make yourself feel better by saying, “I did my best,” consider whether you did your best in the preparation. The actual effort given in the event has the least to do with the outcome.

 

 

Johnism

 

 Many times the cheaper the Customers go, the more it costs 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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Secret speaker is…; party bus video; Trump towers

The Party Bus – A few weeks ago I wrote a very popular eService about a shuttle bus driver named Helen Humphrey, who works at Nemacolin Resort and provides an incredibly entertaining three- minute bus ride for her passengers (read entire eService about Disco Helen). Nemacolin was nice enough to share a 57 second video interview with Helen so you can see why she is so legendary.  Check this video out

 

The Memorable Experience Challenge – You need to show everyone in your organization both the eService about Helen and video interview of Helen and ask them this: “If a shuttle bus driver can find a way to provide such a uniquely memorable experience, how can each of us do the same when we interact with our Customers?”

 

Periodic acknowledgement- I was recently checking in at the Trump Towers Hotel in downtown Chicago and experienced something so simple yet extremely effective in assuring waiting Customers of their importance. I was standing in line waiting to check in for my room, and about a minute into my wait, the front-desk receptionist, who was checking in the guest in front of me, said, “I will be right with you sir.” I smiled and didn’t think anything of it and shortly there after I was being checked in. About a minute into her checking me in, she acknowledged the person standing behind me by saying, “I will be right with you ma’am.”  It was something so small, but I loved it. This simple, periodic touch told the next guest that I am aware of you and will be right with you, without making me feel as if she was hurrying with me. 

 

The ‘Secret’ Speaker is … We have several surprises at this year’s Secret Service Summit that will unfold throughout the event and are guaranteed to make it the most memorable summit we have ever produced. However, we have to share the identity of one of our surprise presenters for this year– international speaker and author Reon Schutte! While a member of the elite Special Forces, Reon was captured on a mission in 1990 and spent nearly 13 years as a prisoner of war in Zimbabwe’s infamously brutal Chikurubi prison.  There he came to understand universal truths that allowed him to be free, even while imprisoned.

 

 

 

Set Yourself Free – DO NOT MISS Reon Schutte’s keynote at this year’s Secret Service Summit.  It will be a presentation that will leave a lifelong impact!

 

Johnism

  

Annual Customer service training is like deodorant, pretty soon it wears off and the smell comes back

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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Own every moment; the party bus

Not content with Five Star  – This month Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is launching their updated “Day in the Life of a Customer” video, Customer Service Vision Statement & Pillars, and their Never & Always standards to all their 800+ associates. You might ask, why? Why would a resort like Nemacolin, one the few properties in the world that can boast that they are both Five Diamond and Five Star, feel it necessary to be rolling out so many new Customer service initiatives?

 

Own Every Moment – One of the dangers that can happen when you work at a huge property that has people enjoying weddings, business conferences, and honeymoons, is that you can think that a guest’s satisfaction is based on how those grandiose events turn out. However, Nemacolin realizes it is not only about excellent food, the room being ready and clean, good spa service, a beautiful wedding; but rather it is more the sum of dozens of individual moments that make up how a guest will feel about their experience and the memories they will take with them.  That is why Nemacolin’s Customer service vision statement is to Own Every Moment by being excellent, being engaged and being empowered. You can see from their credo card how they define each of those pillars.

 

The Party Bus – I spent this past Labor Day weekend at Nemacolin, along with a group of friends (about 25 other families, totaling over 90 people), and it was a great time. One moment that really stood out was when a group of about a dozen of us waiting for a shuttle bus to take us from dinner back to our hotel at around 11 p.m.  Nemacolin is such a large property that they run shuttle buses all day and night to transport their guests from one part of the property to the next.  A shuttle pulled up and as I started to enter it, the rest of my group said, “That’s not Helen!  We called for Helen. We will wait.” I looked at them and said, “Are you crazy?  It’s late, let’s get on the shuttle.” The kids were exhausted, and I just wanted to get back to my hotel room at this point. However, the rest of my group wouldn’t budge. They were dead set on waiting for Helen. So out of curiosity I waited to see what all the fuss was.  Soon after, a shuttle pulled up and the doors swung open and the party started.

 

Helen Owns Every Moment – Helen Humphrey has been a Nemacolin legend for over 9 years. Guests love her and request her shuttles all the time because she plays music and flashes the interior lights to the beat of the music (which is why she is also known as Disco Helen).  She interacts with guests via the intercom, asking who has never been here (i.e. “who is a Nemacolin Virgin), finding all sorts of ways to entertain her passengers. She has the “Party Bus.”  Helen has been known to go shopping for guests and bring them items so they never have to leave the property. She also received the “Fan Mail Award” in 2011.  This is given to the associate who receives the most positive name mentions.

 

 

Johnism

  

Customer Engagement is a contact sport

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.



5 Steps to creating an Above & Beyond Culture, Maids National WOW award

Priming their minds – In my book, What’s the Secret?, Commandment VIII: Creating an Above & Beyond Culture, is about how world-class Customer service companies are constantly making their employees aware of all the simple ways they can surprise and delight their Customers.  The following audit questions are critical if your company has what it takes to create an Above & Beyond Culture:

  • Are your employees empowered to exceed Customer expectations?
  • Are your employees willing to exceed Customer expectations?
  • Do you have mechanisms in place to collect and re-distribute Above & Beyond stories to constantly remind your employees to look for similar situations?

Five Steps to Creating an Above & Beyond Culture –

      1. Empower employees with autonomy and confidence so they can aggressively go Above & Beyond without being second-guessed by management.
      2. Train employees to be able to consistently recognize Above & Beyond opportunities that occur.
      3. Inspire them to think outside the box and go Above & Beyond for the Customer.
      4. Acquire and document all Above & Beyond stories that happen in your organization.
      5. Advertise and recognize those stories and employees throughout your entire organization. 

      The National WOW Award – The Maids International (TMI) is a professional home cleaning service with locations all over the US. To ensure the Maids Service Vision penetrates throughout the entire company, in 2013, TMI rolled out their National WOW! Award, which was developed to recognize outstanding Customer service provided by a franchisee, manager, team leader or team members. The award is given out quarterly to someone who takes the initiative to seize an opportunity to “WOW!” a Customer, and impact him or her for the better. The stories do not have to be extravagant; instead, these are often relatively simple, easy, actionable service opportunities that show how franchisees or staff recognized opportune moments, foreseeing Customer needs, listening to the Customer and being thoughtful. These considerate moments then turn in to emotional connections with the Customer. These connections show that TMI not only provides cleaning services, but also takes care of Customers and improves lives. The recipient of the National WOW! Award receives a $500 prize and a stunning crystal trophy to display proudly at the franchise office for years to come.  

       

      The Winner is…The Customer! I love this story of the first TMI National WOW! award recipient out of their Kansas City location. While cleaning the home of an elderly Customer in April, the team of four maids noticed that the elderly woman’s Christmas tree was still standing, fully decorated, in the living room. Upon asking why the tree was still up, the woman explained she had wanted to take the tree down but it was too overwhelming of a task to do on her own. The team recognized the opportunity, preceded to take the tree down for her, thus “WOWing” the Customer! 

       

      Who is allowed? – This week’s negative cue is a sign displayed by a pool in a high-end resort.  As you can see, there are a lot of “pool rules.” It would be easier to list what is allowed versus what isn’t, and the sign would be smaller.

       

       

       

      The 2013 Secret Service Summit – This November 4 & 5, learn why The Maids and many other top Customer service organizations in the world visit Cleveland to attend the Summit of the Customer Service Revolution. Learn more…

        

      Johnism

        

      We are in the Customer perception business

       

      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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      Walking the Talk

       

      Walking the Talk – This past March (2013) The DiJulius Group held a Secret Service Certification class, where we had over 30 attendees for this two-day advance Customer service Train the Trainer.  During the class, unknown to nearly everyone, including myself, one of the attendees, a sweet woman from Connecticut, stepped out of the room because she wasn’t feeling well.  Next thing we hear is that she has been admitted in the Cleveland Clinic Hospital, where she apparently had a minor stroke.  She spent four days in the hospital.  Thankfully today she is doing incredibly well and on the road to a full recovery; however, I want to share a letter she sent to me about two weeks after she got back to Connecticut. I feel so proud of the amazing team we have here at The DiJulius Group. It is one thing to talk about it; it is another thing to live it.

       

      John,

       

      I am sending this email to let you know how much I appreciate what David and Nicole did for me while I was in Cleveland.  As you know, my visit there turned into a hospital stay.

       

      I was at the second day of the certification class and started to feel very strange.  I did not know what was happening, but I knew I needed to get to the hospital.  I left the classroom and went out into the lobby and asked David to take me.  He never asked any questions as to why, he just jumped into action.  From that point on, he took such good care of me, and I am not someone that he knew outside of the business.
       

      Once I realized that it was very serious and that I would be staying in the hospital, I let him know and from the time that I went up to my room, he almost never left my side.  He knew that I was all-alone in Cleveland, and he knew that I was very scared.  He even made sure that he kept in contact with my sister in Connecticut, giving her the status of my care.    At one point in my stay, I had to have an incision in my scalp due to a cyst that had developed.  He immediately rushed to my side and held my hand.
       

      Nicole was also there for me.  She came to visit and sit with me, brought me some fabulous hair products, got me earrings so I could feel like a human being and went to pick up my prescriptions, not once but twice, so I would not be without the medication I needed.  I was scheduled to be discharged on Friday and fly home.  My flight was cancelled so she quickly found a hotel for me and took me and made sure I was settled in my room.  David and Nicole are still checking up on me today.
       

      I now know that God puts people in your path for a reason, and that David and Nicole are my guardian angels and lifelong friends.  Even if I don’t come back for the rest of my class, I will be back to see all of you.  
       

      Thank you so much for everything.   

        

      Sandra

       

      Congratulations – David and Nicole, you exemplify world-class personally and professionally!

       

       

      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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