John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

Advance Financial revolutionizing the Payday loan industry

In Default – The payday loan industry has one of the worst ethical business reputations going. The industry has been heavily criticized for irresponsible lending, applying outlandish interest rates, charging excessive fees, aggressive debt collection and even occasional fraud. The government has stepped in and put in many radical regulations, and as a result, payday loan banks cannot even operate anymore in a growing number of US states.


Enter Advance Financial – Advance Financial is a chain of over 50 payday loan centers headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. For the past two years, Advance Financial has been reinventing itself with an aggressive strategic plan to build a world-class Customer experience business. While impressive, the more surprising question is WHY? Advance Financial’s sales growth in the last five years has been amazing.  In the last three years alone their increase was 250% including the number of locations and profit. All this in spite of the payday loan industry being notorious for horrible Customer service. When Advance Financial reached out to The DiJulius Group nearly two years ago about hiring us as their Customer service consulting firm, I asked CEO Tina Hodges the following questions: “Your company is rocking and rolling, sales are up, profit is great, no one else is doing this; so why the need to change and tamper with success? It will be a lot of work, it is a long-term commitment, and why do you need to become the first world-class Customer service payday loan bank?”  Here is how Tina answered my questions.


Customer Service Vision – Their Customer base is one that often times may have fallen on hard times. As a result, Customers may feel like they are not treated well.  Advance Financial wants to make sure every one of their 500+ employees, in over 50 locations, acts as an ally for their Customers. A place where their Customers can come in, be respected, see a friendly face and be treated like a friend; hence, Advance Financial’s Customer Service Vision Statement: Friends Helping Friends


Revolutionizing Payday loan industry – Advance Financial has done so much in less than two years.

  • Named a CXO (Chief Xperience Officer) and a Customer & Employee Affairs Director
  • Created a Day-in-the-life of an Advance Financial Customer video that all new employees must watch in their orientation
  • Created a Customer Service Vision statement with pillars and Nevers & Always and rolled these out to the entire company.
  • They created an online training certification of games like Jeopardy, Memory and Wheel of Fortune, ensuring their employees retain their Customer service training, while making it extremely entertaining.
  • Created a new Customer experience at every encounter
  • Have Secret Service Agent teams, made up of front-line employees throughout all their locations, to support this project and audit the experience.

Tina Hodges & Brittni Walker – This is why we are so excited to have Tina Hodges & Brittni Walker present at the 2013 Secret Service Summit in Cleveland, November 4th & 5th. They will be sharing how they are creating a Customer service revolution in the Payday loan industry and making the Customer experience Advance Financial’s strongest competitive advantage.





The only one who enjoys when your company delivers bad service is your competition

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.

Announcing the 2013 Secret Service Summit lineup


Customer Service Revolution



Hot in Cleveland – Who needs LeBron? We have Customer service! Yes, it would be really nice if one of our major sports team won a championship. However, in spite of that, Cleveland is on the rise.  Personally I love Cleveland and I am proud to say I am from Cleveland and currently live here! There is a lot to love: we are known for our leading healthcare facilities, our theatre district, and the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.  Downtown is making a strong comeback, and most of all, we are known for our people. We are in the heart of the Midwest, where we have the best people who are grounded, loyal, have amazing family values. 


The Customer Service Capital – However, that isn’t all Cleveland is known for. Cleveland is now becoming known for our fantastic Customer service.  Five years ago The DiJulius Group launched the annual Secret Service Summit. The Secret Service Summit is a two-day conference featuring the top Customer service speakers, authors, and brand executives. I will be honest — the plan was to launch the first year, 2009, in Cleveland, then move the annual conference to more desirable destinations, i.e. Las Vegas, Orlando, etc.  However, it sold out the first year and was so successful that we decided we were going to keep the Secret Service Summit in Cleveland, Ohio. Why? For one thing, more than 75% of the attendees are from outside of Ohio, and many were outside the U.S.  We felt good about helping Cleveland generate some traffic. Secondly, with the help of so many Cleveland people, we are able to provide a conference experience never seen before, and one we could never duplicate anywhere else.  As a result, the Secret Service Summit is now THE number-one Customer service conference in America!


JOIN THE REVOLUTION – The DiJulius Group has created the #1 Customer Service Conference ever produced. The next  Secret Service Summit will be held this November 4th & 5th in Cleveland, Ohio.  This is a two-day, international seminar dedicated exclusively to world-class Customer service. There will be more than 10 presenters over two days sharing their different expertise at this year’s event.  The lineup includes respected authorities, authors, consultants, and top-brand executives who run world-class Customer service organizations.  They know how to provide superior Customer service while still operating a growing and profitable business in today’s economy.  


 2013 Secret Service Summit: I guarantee that the 2013 Secret Service Summit will the best ROI of any professional development training/seminar you have experienced. This is the best lineup of speakers we have ever had! The Secret Service Summit will enable your management team to return with a solid plan to take your company’s Customer experience to the next level and make price irrelevant.




2012 Secret Service Summit Website

Announcing the 2013 Secret Service Summit Lineup


A SOLD OUT conference 4 years in a row, don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best at America’s #1 Customer Service Conference.  Join the experts at the Cleveland Convention Center this November 4 & 5, and learn how to increase retention, referrals, repeat business and “change the world by creating a Customer service revolution.”

Joe Calloway

Joe Calloway
is a leading performance expert who helps great companies get even better. He helps organizations focus on what is truly important, inspires constant improvement, and motivates people to immediate action. Joe has been a business author, coach, and speaker for 30 years and his client list reads like an international Who’s Who in business, ranging from companies like Coca Cola and IBM to Saks Fifth Avenue and American Express.  Read more.

Stan Slap
There are people who just talk about it and people who do it. Our keynote speaker is someone who does it. Stan Slap is the president of the international consulting company, Slap Company. He is expert in creating ferocious support in manager, employee and customer cultures – the three groups that decide the success of any business.Read more.
Holly Stiel

Holly Stiel
is a trailblazing service philosopher, keynote speaker, trainer and consultant. She is known for her unique, dynamic and interactive presentation style, as well as her talent for transforming companies and their cultures. Her wisdom and know how have been conveyed in 25 languages, and delivered across the globe, from Japan to Johannesburg.  Read more.

Sasha Strauss  
Mr. Strauss has led client programs for Microsoft, Bosch, Medtronic and eBay. He is the Managing Director at Innovation Protocol, a brand strategy consulting firm that exclusively serves innovators. He does lectures at preeminent graduate programs such as the Anderson School at UCLA, MIT Sloan and The Johnson School at Cornell.  Read more.

Tina and Brittni are the heart of Advance Financial and have been instrumental in it’s growth from three to nearly forty locations with 400 employees. Advance Financial is now the leading provider of alternative financial services in the Middle Tennessee market.  Read more.

Matthew Jeffers



Matthew is known as the man who motivated the Baltimore Ravens to win the 2013 Super Bowl. Matthew Jeffers is an actor and speaker who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated in May with a B.S in Theatre. After his hopes and dreams of playing in the NBA came to a crashing halt as a teenager when he realized he would never be any taller than 4’2″. Matthew did not have a typical childhood.   Read more.


John DiJulius

John is the founder and CVO (Chief Visionary Officer) of The DiJulius Group, a consulting firm that helps companies “Make Price Irrelevant”. Top organizations across the world use his philosophies and systems for creating a world-class Customer service experience.  Read more.

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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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