John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


World’s friendliest restaurant; Service Wins in any culture
The world’s friendliest restaurant – Tim’s Place may have my favorite service vision ever: “World’s Friendliest Restaurant.” One rule to creating a Customer service vision statement is it shouldn’t be too over arching, too unrealistic. It needs to be actionable, every time, by every employee, with every Customer. Guess what? Tim’s Place delivers on their service vision! Why? Because service aptitude starts at the top, and their leader, Tim, possesses the highest service aptitude I have ever seen. Tim’s Place is a unique full-service restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, serving breakfast and lunch. Their service vision statement captures exactly who they are and what one can expect when visiting them. The famous quote from Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” has been the driving force behind the life of Tim Harris. Born in 1986 with Down Syndrome, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations.

We offer Breakfast, Lunch, and HUGS – After working several years in the restaurant industry as a Host and seeing the impact Tim had on people by the way he greeted them, Tim’s parents decided Tim should own his own restaurant. In 2010, Tim’s Place opened for business, where they offer Breakfast, Lunch, and Hugs. “The key to our concept is the Customer service experience. We believe that people have a huge appetite for being genuinely welcomed, connected with, touched, appreciated, and genuinely cared for. We believe too many experiences in our busy modern lives are impersonal, sterile, and devoid of genuine human connection,” so states the Tim’s Place website. You have to watch this amazing three minute video on Tim and his restaurant. I guarantee you will want to share this with your staff.

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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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Amazon pays employees to quit, Starbucks Tweet-a-Coffee, NY Restaurant provides Secret Service

NY Restaurant provides Secret Service – The maître d’ at New York’s Eleven Madison Park has created a fascinating way to provide Secret Service and make an emotional connection with guests. He Googles guests who have reservations at the restaurant, searching for Customer intelligence such as where they are from, birth date, profession, anniversary, so he and his employees can personalize the experience from the moment the Customer walks thru the door.

 

Tweet-a-Coffee – World-Class Customer service companies make it extremely easy for their Customers to do business with them. This means they make it extremely easy to spend more money with them.  For example, Starbucks has launched Tweet-a-Coffee, allowing Customers to purchase a coffee for anyone, anywhere via twitter by tweeting @tweetacoffee and then the person’s twitter handle.  Within seconds, a $5 gift card (or tweet) has been given and can be redeemed the next time the recipient goes to Starbucks.  How easy is it to do business with you?

 

Amazon copying Zappos’ paying employees to quit – In his annual letter to shareholders (page 3, paragraph 6), Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced his Pay to Quit program, offering employees a quitting bonus to leave Amazon. Each employee gets the offer once a year. The first time, it’s for $2,000. The offer increases by $1,000 each year thereafter up to a maximum of $5,000. Sound familiar? Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, the online retailer, acquired by Amazon back in 2009, invented this concept.  He refers to it as, “The Offer.” Why are world-class Customer service organizations such as Amazon and Zappos offering incentives and making it easy for employees to leave? Bezos says it well, “In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.” World-Class Customer service organizations are not for everyone, nor should they be. They are for a small percentage of people who buy into that company’s vision and are willing to work harder and be more committed to seeing that the vision gets realized. This Pay to Quit program also turns the table on the company and its leaders. Once a year employees get a chance to evaluate where and whom they work for, which puts pressure on management to continue to strive to create a great company culture.

 

Pre-shift Huddles that work – The Maids International, based in Omaha, Nebraska,is a professional home-cleaning service with franchisee locations all over the United States. In an effort to encourage consistent, constructive huddles, each location received a “Brilliant at the Basics” laminated poster.  The poster can easily be hung in any area of an office, and then re-used daily with a dry erase marker.  It guides huddle leaders through TMI’s three pillars, gives an opportunity to discuss specific quality issues, and lastly has an area to celebrate recent Above and Beyond behaviors.  At very little cost, TMI has developed a customized huddle format, which has been deployed across the organization. Also, TMI has announced a fun way to ensure this new tool is being used.  They are holding a video contest seeking the best huddle.  TMI locations are encouraged to video tape what they consider to be their best version of a huddle.  Prizes will be awarded to the winning team.  What a fun way to encourage usage of this effective tool on a daily basis!  See TMI walking the talk.

 

Jack Daly’s new book – A sales guru and past keynote speaker of The Secret Service Summit, Jack Daly’s newest book and soon to be bestseller, Hyper Sales Growth, was released Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Jack knows sales and how to help companies grow. Hyper Sales Growth dives into three critical areas: Building a winning culture in your business, Sales Management, and Sales success. I promise that if you will take the time to read it and take action, your business will grow and achieve a greater amount of success. 

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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5 steps to a successful Customer service initiative

Every company is guilty of having a bunch of great ideas and incredible initiatives born in a meeting room only to eventually fizzle out and die, leaving the management team frustrated and cynical and the employees skeptical about what is the next program of the year, flavor of the month, or management by best seller.

  1. Create it – Whether your are creating your Customer Service Vision, your Non-negotiable Standards, Secret Service Systems, or your Service Recovery (Zero Risk) Protocols, you need to have a team that is tasked with this project. They are most commonly known as a steering committee, ideally composed of 12-18 people. This group should not be all management personnel, rather representative of nearly every department the company has, as well as some front-line employees. This will ensure the group as a whole is working for the best interest of the entire company.  This project also needs to have a leader, a champion (CXO), someone who reports to the CEO/President and will lose sleep at night over the success of this project at every stage; not just in the short term, but 6-18 months from now. When creating an initiative, the project champion needs to get the steering committee together for a workshop initially, and a follow up at a minimum. Homework and exercises need to be created to create the absolute best outcome possible. In between physical meetings, the project leader will need to manage regular communication between the steering committee through emails, conference calls and webinars to ensure everyone is collaborating and staying on target with outcomes and deadlines.
  2. Sell it – Creating your initiative can be exhausting. It should be exhausting, otherwise it won’t be taken seriously. Now the hard work starts. The only thing that is nearly as important as executive sponsorship is front-line sponsorship. Here is where a major mistake is commonly made. The steering committee can assume that everyone in the organization will have the same passion and commitment to this initiative, but no one else outside of the steering committee has been immersed in it for weeks, debating with passion what will help take the company to the next level. So there is typically a dis-connect between the group that gives birth to the project and the audience (rest of the organization). That is why it is so important to have a launch that gets everyone on board and able to understand why this initiative is so important to the company’s success, the Customers’ well-being, and employees’ future. A launch involves communicating with everyone, and in that launch, there needs to be a story told. Every story has a villain and a hero. The villain is what’s wrong with the way it is currently being done. The villain may be the competition, the status quo, price cutters, or the pain the Customers are experiencing. The hero is easy; the hero is our initiative and how it will change the company, the industry, our Customers’ lives, and solve their problem. You have to be able to sell the purpose of your initiative to all your employees and get them to rally around it, rise up to defeat the villain.
  3. Implement it – This is where most plans, projects and initiatives fail — at the implementation phase. You can create the greatest idea and get everyone to rally around it, but if you don’t have a solid implementation plan, it will be another good idea that never amounted to anything, because no one made sure there was a plan to roll it out effectively after the pep rally. Implementation is a roll out calendar of phases: crawl, walking and running. This calendar needs to be timed with training and support materials. This is also where creating an extension to the steering committee comes in, i.e. Secret Service Agents, who are traditional front-line employees who help roll out the initiatives and act as front-line ambassadors.
  4. Measure it – Just like the project leader needs to lose sleep at night over the success, now every department, manager, and employee needs to know the key metric that measures the success of this initiative, i.e. retention rate, number of referrals, resign rate, closing ratio, conversion rate, Customer satisfaction score, or NPS. Not only do they need to know what it is, but what it has to be, and they need to see it daily and know exactly what impacts it. Management and employees need to obsess over this metric. The ones hitting the goal need to be celebrated loudly, the ones who are underperforming need to be coached and convinced that this is the way we are operating now and forever. Live it, love it or leave it.  
  5. Sustain it – Be relentless. There is no ribbon cutting ceremony for a world-class Customer service organization. You never arrive; you just need to keep improving. And steps 1 thru 4 need to be constantly repeated, even for the same initiative. Customer service systems evolve, some things work, many things need tweaking, better training, support, technology, better communication, and awareness. The steering committee needs to continue to meet regularly to develop new systems as well as evolve the existing ones, constantly evaluating progress and defects. Most of all, all the work done and rolled out needs to be part of the new employee orientation and training so the future generations get it, provide consistency and understand the legacy the company is built on.  Then your company’s Customer service will be your single biggest competitive advantage. 

 

Johnism

 

There’s only one boss, the Customer, who can fire everybody in the company
 from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else

  ~Sam Walton                    

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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Russia’s Customer Service Overhaul; Your Director of First Impressions

Director of First Impressions – In a professional office environment, when you might get less than a dozen scheduled visitors a day, a great and easy Secret Service system is to display a sign welcoming people who have appointments that day, i.e. “ABC would like to welcome Joanna Smith.”  At The DiJulius Group this responsibility falls on the Director of First Impressions, the first person our guests see as they walk into our office.With the aid of Social Media platforms, such as LinkedIn, we personalize this sign so our welcome monitor doesn’t just display our client’s name, but their picture and logo as well. This provides a unique experience for the visitor; it also educates the staff on who to expect, at what time and what that person looks like so they can recognize them by name.

 

Picture the traditional office visit experience: You have an appointment at your accountant’s office or you are interviewing for a new job, you walk into the business and the receptionist says, “Can I help you?” You say, “Yes, I am here to see Mike Jones.” The receptionist asks, “What’s your name?” You tell her, and she notifies the person and eventually Mike comes out to welcome you. 

 

Now imagine walking into an office for an appointment and you see a monitor that welcomes you by name and displays your picture. The receptionist says, “Hi, Joanna.  It’s is nice to see you. Mike is expecting you, so let me tell him you have arrived. Can I get you some coffee, tea or water?” On top of that, two or three other people greet you by name as they walk by.

 

Customer Service Huddle – Carter Mario Injury Lawyers has six fully staffed offices across the state of Connecticut. Keeping everyone engaged in the firm’s Customer service culture can be difficult across multiple locations. While the firm conducts early morning “huddles” every day before work begins, Wednesday mornings are especially

reserved to discuss Customer service. Using video conferencing technology, each office can see and hear each other in real time, and discuss topics like “how do you take ownership of challenges in your life?” Everyone benefits by hearing the responses of each office, and it keeps the multiple locations connected with a common focus. See more of Carter Mario’s world-class hospitality best practices.

 

Russian Hospitality?  An article in the New York Times shared how Russia is trying to remove the stereotype of scowls, cold stares and unfriendly encounters, Russia is attempting to change that image. Russian Customer service has been a hot topic and a transformative trend brought about by the rising demand of middle class consumers. The main message: Smile and be friendly. Some have even predicted that Russia will soon leapfrog the West in Customer service.  Read entire article

 

 

Johnism

 

 The answer’s yes…now what’s the question?

 

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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4 Simple Ways to Start Your Revolution

4 Simple Ways to Start Your Revolution

by Dave Murray 

Senior Customer Service Consultant for The DiJulius Group

 

As the calendar changed from 2013 to 2014, many magazines, websites and blogs began to publish articles about becoming more productive, becoming more organized.  Many of these go under the premise that the first few weeks of the year are slow for most, and they attempt to focus on a few easy ways to kick-start the process in hopes of developing some new good habits.

 

These articles got me thinking:  What are the best ways to kick-start a Customer Service Revolution throughout your organization?  Don’t get me wrong; the process is not necessarily an easy one.  When we engage our clients to revolutionize their Customer Service, it is a systematic approach that includes multiple workshops producing deliverables such as training manuals, customized training tools and new methodologies designed to maintain momentum.

 

That being said, what can one do if he or she is looking to simply begin the process of making things better for both Customers and employees?  Here are my top four ways to get things moving in the right direction – and these are all things you can work into your day, whether you are experiencing a winter slow down, or your days are busier than ever.

 

1)   Use “F.O.R.D.” on your employees – FORD is the acronym we use for the information you need to gather on clients, suppliers, employees, etc. in order to really build quality relationships.  FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams.  All things that people love to talk about, and that will help us grow a relationship.

 

Think about this for a moment: How much information do you know regarding the people who report to you?  If you can list five things per employee– good for you.  If you cannot, there’s no better time than now to start.  By the way, we are not recommending that you begin interrogating or even re-interviewing your employees for these important bits of information.  Simply make sure that you take the time to have quality conversations with your employees, and work FORD related questions into the discussion when appropriate.

 

2)   Make a connection – Use your Customers’ names.  You have heard it before, and it is true – the sweetest sound to a human being is his or her own name.  There is no better way to connect with another human being than using their name, whether it is on the phone or in person.  If you are in a phone center or a Customer-facing area, challenge your employees to get the Customer’s name and then use it.  Many times getting the name is the easy part.  So many of us are in situations where the Customers must give us their names. But do we all use the very useful information other than just looking up an account?

 

It is one thing to tell your team to use names, yet it is quite another to show them.  In a meeting, take some time to roll out the plan to connect, and use role-play to demonstrate to your team your anticipated end product.  Set a goal for the number of times (many organizations shoot for three times during an interaction), and then use the role playing to show how the name usage should be natural, never forced simply to hit a number.  Decide if your organization wants to address Customers by sir name, or if you want to connect on a first name basis.  In my opinion, this is primarily based on the standards that already exist within your industry.

 

3)   Give your team ways to say, Yes – Many companies say, “The Customer is always right,” or “No is not an option,” but very few companies teach their front-line teams how to say, Yes.  How do you do that?  One great way is to get your team together and ask them to track the top three to five things that they must say ‘no’ to over a period of time.  Then, as a group, find ways to say ‘yes.’  I am not suggesting that we change the way we do business, but what I am suggesting is that if there is a request that does require a ‘no’ for a legitimate reason, arm your team with alternative solutions.  Can’t refund the purchase? Make sure offering an exchange is top of mind, if feasible.  Get your team thinking that they are in the resolution business.  No challenge is too tough; find a positive in every negative.  Once you have set this guideline in motion, re-enforce it with the “No-No Game.”  As a group, throw out difficult ‘no’ questions, and make your team members come up with positive solutions on the spot.  It is a fun way to maintain momentum and celebrate successes.

 

4)   A day in the life – There is no better way for your employees to really focus on and connect with your Customers than to build empathy for them.  Empathy is that magic emotion that helps our teams to NOT treat the next person in line, or on hold, like a number.  Empathy helps our teams remember that this is the Customers’ time with us – no matter how many times we have heard their question today.

 

Many companies write, develop and create award-winning quality videos focused on the day in the life of Customers  that are then shown to existing team members during a kick off event, and then made part of the orientation process for all future employees.  The first step of this process when we are working with clients is to have team members break into small groups and write scripts based on combined real-life experiences they have had.  The real fun begins when the small groups are asked to act out the script they have created.  While you will not be producing an Oscar winner, you will be creating a fun way for your team to put themselves in the shoes of the people they serve – and hopefully begin to charge their way of thinking.   You will also be gathering some great storylines for when it comes time to create your video.

 

I hope that you will find with just a little time and effort, these four ideas can really get you moving in the right direction.  I am open to answer any questions, and hopefully hear some of your success stories! 

 

 

  

 

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