John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

The Customer eXperience Executive Academy

Wanted: Chief Customer Officer – The fastest growing C-level position popping up in the corporate world is CCO- Chief Customer Officer, also known as the CXO- Chief eXperience Officer (see past eService Who is losing sleep at night over the Customer). With the old paradigm, the Customer service duties were left on the plate of the director of training, HR, or the chief marketing officer. Regardless of your company’s size, someone in your organization has to be in charge of the Customer eXperience and all that goes with it. I am not talking about the head of the Customer service department-that is, call centers. I am talking about someone who oversees the entire company’s Customer service, every department. That someone should not be the president, CEO, or owner, but someone who reports directly to them. Companies have heads of operations, marketing, accounting, sales, and human resources, but our second biggest asset (other than our employees) is our Customer. Their happiness is determined by the Customer eXperience we deliver. Until recently, the vast majority of companies had no one in charge of the Customer or their eXperience. Regardless of your company’s size, you need to have someone who loses sleep at night over the Customer and how every department and all employee-training affects the Customer eXperience.


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Creating a World-Class Employee Experience, Part 2


Employee Engagement, Part 2- Written by Senior Customer Service Consultant Dave Murray


If you recall, in Employee Engagement Part 1, we focused on a Harvard Business Review post written by Rob Markey.  In the post, “The Four Secrets to Employee Engagement,” Markey focuses on some recent findings from a Bain and Company study conducted across the globe.  The purpose of today’s article is to focus on one of the solutions the Bain and Co. study identified, and to discuss a little further.


Supervisors are the key – One of the big takeaways from the study was that supervisors lead the engagement charge, not the human resources department.  When reading this result, I immediately thought of a great piece of data that we at The DiJulius Group use when working on Commandment II, World Class Internal Culture, with our clients.  This data was uncovered by The Hay Group and Gallup, and reported by The Blanchard Companies in The Retention Challenge…


“The single most important determinant of an individual’s

performance and commitment to stay with the organization is the

relationship with his or her immediate manager. People leave their

manager far more often than they leave the organization.”


I think this is such important information that is too often overlooked.  Think about your own organization for a moment.  How often do employees get promoted to a supervisory role simply because they performed the job function well?  All of the time, right?  Well, I agree that performing the job well is an important piece of the puzzle.  All too often, that is the only determining factor considered.  Does the candidate relate well with others?  Do they know how to build and cultivate relationships?  Are they able to hold candid conversations with people that may have once been peers?  Do they know the importance of leading by example?


Typically, the answer is no.  Instead, the newly promoted supervisors often resorts to making their presence felt by finding as many flaws and mistakes as possible.  In order to demonstrate their newly found power, write-ups and negative reinforcement abound.  The initial, short-term results can be seen as a tightening-up of what had become a loosely run operation.  Sometimes this may be true, but all too often, this behavior is causing severe long-term damage to a department.


While discipline and accountability are vital to the success of any organization, they must co-exist with relationship building and positive reinforcement.  A great exercise we utilize with Clients at The DiJulius Group is the F.O.R.D. challenge.  FORD is an acronym that stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams.  I suggest you try this with you supervisory team to get a baseline of where you stand.


The exercise is simple:  Have your supervisors write down the names of five employees that report to them.  Then, ask them to write down five pieces of FORD on each.  This information is key to gather and utilize when building a relationship with anyone… Customers, employees, etc.  One slight change occurs when gathering FORD on employees.  We obviously already know where they work and what they do, but do we know where they want to go?  Do we know what position or department they are working toward joining?  As a supervisor or manager, this information is vital to the relationship.


Back to the exercise. Have each supervisor write down five pieces of FORD on the five employees they have selected.  If they nail it on all five, that is great news.  Typically, the first one or two employees can be somewhat easy, but this exercise can become very difficult very quickly.  It can open the eyes of managers and supervisors to the fact that they know very little about the people they rely on daily.  It creates an opportunity for growth and development that will not only help your employees, but ultimately your Customers as well!


I encourage you to try this exercise and determine your internal FORD baseline, and I would love to hear your results!



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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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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. 




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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Top 7 eServices of 2013

In case you missed it – The 7 most popular eServices of 2013 were the following. (I suggest printing them out, reading and sharing them with your management team.)


 1.     The Next 30 Years – I had the honor of being asked to present at my high school’s 30th reunion. I hope you enjoy this and find some things here that are applicable to your life’s journey. The Next 30 Years


 2.     11 Rules to a World-Class Customer Service Mindset – This list is the acid test if you, the leader, truly want to create a world-class service culture.  You must have the following mindset; 100% with no wavering. If any of these 11 rules are difficult to swallow or you don’t fully agree, you are not yet there. 11 Rules to a World-Class Customer Service Mindset


 3.     No problem is a Big problem – The biggest street slang terms used in every business today are the responses, “no problem” or “not a problem.” Find out why No problem is a Big problem


 4.     To Change the world by creating a Customer service revolution – 



We are so proud of the fact that hundreds of organizations all over the world have adopted this as their vision of how they want to build their business and distance themselves from the competition. However, for it to be truly successful, for it not to be just another mantra, annual theme, platitude, or flavor of the month, it is critical you understand what creating a Customer service revolution really means.  Breaking down the definition of Changing the world by creating a Customer service revolution — to its core.


 5.     Email Never & Always standards – We’ve noticed since helping our clients create and roll out these non-negotiable standards, that it’s lacking for people who work in jobs where they mostly communicate electronically, i.e. via email (corporate home office, internal support positions, Customer service reps, etc.).  So the following are examples from some of The DiJulius Group’s consulting clients’  Email non-negotiable standards.


 6.     Nine worst Customer service retailers – The good news is, Customer satisfaction with retailers is at an all-time high.  The bad news is, some well-known brands are not pleasing their Customers. Check out who the nine retailers with the worst Customer service were.  Are you surprised by who is on the list?


 7.     To be the most Customer-centric company in the world – I love both as a consultant and Customer of their world-class service! They are one of the top 10 Customer service companies in the world. Jeffrey Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, is fanatical about the Customer experience. Most Customer-Centric company in the world


2014 Secret Service Certification Schedule Announced – Apply to the most coveted Customer Experience Certification Classes of 2014.  Learn how to train your team, your company, your clients on how to become world-class Customer experience providers regardless of industry or size.  When you become certified, you’ll receive the tools used by the top Customer service companies in the world!  Learn more.





Do not ask the Customers what they want, give them something that they cannot live without.

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’s Drones; Law Firm tears down stereotypes; Lulu at it again; A Gift for your clients

Henson Fuerst Law Firm – You do not typically think of World-Class Customer service when you think of injury attorneys; however, Henson Fuerst Law Firm, headquartered in Raleigh, NC, is rapidly changing that stereotype.  They just launched their company’s Customer Service Vision Statement and “Day-in-the-Life of a Customer” video to their entire staff.  The purpose was to make all their employees, lawyers, case managers, receptionists, etc. have a better understanding of what their clients are dealing with and battling throughout what can be a 24-month ordeal until their injury case is settled.  The Henson Fuerst’s Service Vision and “Day-in-the-Life of a Customer” video really demonstrate the compassion and empathy their associates need to display with every client, on every interaction. Watch the Henson Fuerst Law Firm’s “Day-in the-Life of a Customer” video 


Amazon Gets It – Last week Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, posted a message to his Customers on their homepage explaining how their Frustration-Free Packaging will reduce Wrap rage.  This is why Amazon is one of the top world-class Customer service companies in the world.  They take ownership of the problem, even when it isn’t their fault.  Everything Amazon does is designed around the Customer’s experience.  Check out the video that demonstrates the benefit of Frustration-Free Packaging.


Amazon Flying Drones – Never resting and always on the cutting edge of innovation, Bezos unveiled Amazon Prime Air in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”  Prime Air will be a service that delivers packages via autonomous drones. With the service, Bezos said he hopes that the company will be able to deliver packages into Customers’ hands within 30 minutes of the time they place an order.  Check out an actual drone delivery.


Lululemon year keeps getting worse –  Maybe Lululemon’s marketing is trying to emulate Miley Cyrus with shocking antics to steal headline news. This time the company’s founder, Chip Wilson, said in an interview on Bloomberg that Lululemon’s yoga pants are not for women with thighs that rub together. In March, Lululemon had to recall 17% of its pants because they were too sheer, and the company’s stock (and reputation) took a hit. Even then, the company suggested that the pants weren’t the problem, but that women were wearing the wrong sizes.  The public backlash forced Wilson to make an apology video.


Make 2014 the year you take your organization to world class service levels – The Enterprise Revolution Package is the perfect way to improve your service delivery.  Your clients deserve the gift of world-class Customer service. 


The Enterprise Revolution Package Box Set combines in-class education and ongoing phone coaching for the year.  Coupled with the X-Commandments Digital Consulting Suite you’ll have all the training tools necessary to have your clients fall in love with you all over again.  With your purchase before Christmas you can use online discount BOXSET20 to receive $2000 off this training system.  Learn what else it comes with!







You have to start with the Customer experience
and work backwards toward the product, not the other way around


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.

Email Never & Always standards; how hotel handles ridiculous request

Customer Bill of Rights – One of the most effective ways to elevate your company’s Customer service level is by instituting Non-Negotiable Standards (Commandment III in What’s the Secret?)  I like to call them the Customer Bill of RightsIf anyone is going to wear your uniform, name tag or represent your brand, there needs to be a small set of 6-12 actions/standards that your employees live by. These non-negotiable standards are also referred to as the Never & Always list (see several company examples in the eService Burden of the Brand).


Never & Always list – Creating the traditional non-negotiable standards is a favorite for our consulting clients; rolling out a short, simple list that is common sense.  Yet the majority of businesses and front-line employees too often are guilty of executing the Never List and rarely do what’s on the Always List.



Email Never & Always list standards – What we’ve noticed since helping our clients create and roll out these non-negotiable standards is that it’s lacking for people who work in jobs where they mostly communicate electronically, i.e. via email (home offices, internal support positions, Customer service reps, etc.).  So the following are examples from some of The DiJulius Group’s consulting clients’ Email non-negotiable standards:



  • Deliver bad/negative news via email
  • Respond with just an answer (5 words or less)
  • Never use jargon/slang
  • Never treat e-mail like a text message
  • Use all caps
  • Respond to “All” when the entire list doesn’t need to know
  • Get anything off your chest in an email


  • Use a professional signature, even in replies
  • Use the Customer’s name every time
  • Open with something personal when dealing with an existing client  
  • Close with a nice line, i.e.
    • It was a pleasure…
    • Looking forward to working with you,
    • Let me know if there is anything else I can do
  • Respond within one business day (even if it is to let them know you don’t have an answer yet)
  • Use clear subject line wording
  • Use Secret Service when dealing with existing clients
  • Use BCC when sending to a large list to protect others’ email addresses
  • Call them if your first email was not clear
  • Call them directly if you cannot provide them with what they are asking for

Please share any we haven’t thought of!


Hotel Fulfills Guest’s Ridiculous Request – When a guest made a reservation online for a room for himself and his girlfriend at the Woodlands Resort near Houston last month, he decided to test the resort’s Customer service. When he came to the “special requests” section, the guest requested that the resort provide him with three red M&Ms and a picture of bacon. See how the hotel handled the Ridiculous Request.


The last Secret Service Certification class of the year – This September 24 & 25, is the last Certification Class of 2013. Taught exclusively by John DiJulius, this class will teach you how to create your own Secret Service Systems at your company.  This class is by application only.  Download application here and email as PDF to or fax back to 440-484-2373.


Very limited seating.




We are at our best when creating enduring relationships and personal connections.
 When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our Customers,
 even if it is just for a few moments. It is about the human connection.

-Howard Schultz


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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