John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


World-Class is not prejudice | Chick-fil-A 40 years of double digit sales growth | Do your customers have permission to spend more money | 3 Must Do’s for Social Media Management Making price irrelevant…

World-Class is not only for the high-end luxury brands – Would you be surprised if I told you about an upscale restaurant that regularly has fresh flowers and fresh ground pepper at every table, meals brought while you are seated, and regular acts of kindness such as employees carrying food for women with strollers and opening doors for elderly?  What if I told you this was not an upscale restaurant, but rather a restaurant that competes in the fast food industry. Yes, I am talking about Chick-fil-A, regarded Chick-fil-A Website as one of the truly great world-class customer service anomalies, like Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Starbucks. Chick-fil-A is truly an innovator, disrupting a stale industry (quick service restaurants) and serving as a case study business model from which any industry can learn. Chick-fil-A has more than 1,500 locations and has an unheard of 40 consecutive years of double-digit sales increase.

Mark Moraitakis Every guest feels cared for in a way that cannot be duplicatedMark G. Moraitakis is the Director of Service Innovations and a nearly 30-year veteran of Chick-fil-A. Mark is one of our amazing keynote presenters at this year’s 2011 Secret Service Summit November 3rd & 4th.  Mark will share the key reasons for Chick-fil-A’s incredible success, and how they have revolutionized the customer experience model in the quick service restaurant arena that can be applied to any business. Mark describes the purpose of CFA restaurants: to ensure every guest has an experience where they feel cared for in a way that they cannot get anywhere else.  

A WIN-WIN Customer Experience – Last week I did an Experiential Tour Workshop with a group of executives from one of my consulting clients.  We visited several customer experience revolutionary retailers from different industries, found the common themes they all share, and discussed how those themes can be applied to their business.  One common theme that reoccurred was an improved experience that greatly benefitted the customer, left them surprised and appreciative, but also greatly benefited the organization.  For instance, if Nordstrom does not have your size in a style that you want, they will order it and ship it to your house or office for no extra charge.  Wow, that means I do not have to comeback next week and pick it up! Love that! What it also means is that at other retail stores, more than half of the customers do not come back to pick up their items because it is inconvenient and they lost the urge to purchase that item a week later. This excellent customer service system also ensures Nordstrom closes more sales.  

Give your customer permission to buy more – Have you ever ordered at a drive thru only to realize that you forgot something, yet you are too afraid to add it on at the pickup window because you think it will cause mayhem to the drive thru attendant?  I personally do not want my customers to ever fear buying more.  So what if, as you pulled up to the pickup window, there were a sign that said, “Did you forget anything? You can add it on here.”   This sign would make the customer thrilled that they can still get what they wanted and the restaurant gets more sales.  Win-Win.

FREE teleseminar September 14th – The DiJulius Group is staring a monthly teleseminar series for members of the customer service revolution personally conducted by John DiJulius on how to create a world-class customer experience organization.  Find out the secrets to becoming the best in your industry, making price irrelevant to your clients and changing the world by joining the customer service revolution.  Sign up to become a member.

Quote of the week –
Your success depends on the capacity of other people to carry out your vision to the end.
Your individual effect on the outcome becomes less and less. As others, through empowerment,
take on significant responsibilities with zealous commitment, many more will enjoy success.

Receive a “Johnism” of the Day – NOW you can join me on Twitter!

~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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Restaurants on the Run | Michael Caito | Steve Job’s farewell | British Airlines
Changing the World by Creating a Customer Service Revolution…

ROTR Logo Restaurants on the Run – This is a multi-restaurant delivery and catering company serving cities all over the west coast, and it has an amazing success story built around a philosophy of “people taking care of people.” This isn’t lip service. They live this internally and externally. A long-time client of The DiJulius Group, they created a Secret Service Agent team made up of staff members.  Annually they give out a Secret Service Agent of the Year award, and the recipient will receive a prize such as a vacation for two at Disney World.ROTR SS

Competition on the Run – ROTR is a very aggressive company that excels in implementation and execution (Chapter 6 of What’s the Secret?). They recently introduced a service recovery program designed to focus on loyalty and retention processes, which forced them to take a much longer look at what they do when things do not go according to plan. This Michael Caitohas culminated in our Service Guarantee Program, which caused them to  launch  The ROTR Promise. The ROTR Promise says that they will give customers a $20 gift card if their order is not set up and ready to eat within 5 min of the quoted RTE Time.   This is a bold move and a powerful statement that none of their competitors have ever offered.  The DiJulius Group is thrilled to have Michael Caito, President & CEO of Restaurants on the Run, as one of our keynote speakers at this year’s Secret Service Summit, November 3rd & 4th in Cleveland, OH.

What America needs is more Jobs…Steve Jobs – Last week Steve Jobs officially removed himself as Apple’s CEO.  This may be the end Steve Jobsof an era. I regard Steve Jobs as one of the top five entrepreneurs and visionaries of the last 50 years. If you haven’t seen the Stanford University commencement he gave you have to take the time to watch this, it is legendary – Stanford Address. My favorite Steve Jobs’ quote is, “Don’t ask the customers what they want, give them something they cannot live without.” Here’s to you Steve!

Secret Service by an airline – I get dozens of RSS feeds on customer service stories everyday, but rarely do I get a positive story of an airline. British Airways Using iPads to Revolutionize Customer Service! Cabin crews working for British Airways are now using the iPad to streamline several boarding processes and in-cabin services to offer a truly personalized experience to flight passengers. With the iPads, the crew has access to each customer’s preferences and travel arrangements. A seating chart displays where each passenger is seated, who their traveling companions are, their Executive Club stature, and special meal requests. Read the entire article.

TA making price less relevant – TravelCenters of America, a long time consulting client of The TA DiJulius Group, has had and continues to have, unbelievable momentum. The company has posted amazing earnings the past two years in spite of the serious economic woes that are lingering.  TA has won multiple awards for their customer service excellence, including the 2010 Secret Service Summit Award.  Recently the Cleveland Plain Dealer did a feature story on TA’s success and when asked about why his company places so much emphasis on customer service, CEO Tom O’Brien said, “At the core, our company is in the commodity business. We sell two billion gallons of fuel, and we have some very stiff competition. If you can purchase fuel for the same price, why wouldn’t you send your drivers to a place where they can get a clean hot shower? They can sit in a full-service restaurant and be called by name, and be served by somebody who understands a little bit about the trucking business.”  Read the entire article.

Quote of the week

“We started off hoping to change a business, ended up changing an industry,

 community, people’s lives, and the way other companies do business”

Receive a “Johnism” of the Day – join me on Twitter

Secret Service Certification by John DiJulius

Customer Service Training Class This October 3rd is your opportunity to re-energize and change the way your company delivers world-class customer service.

This last class of the year, will provide new insight into the customer  service systems used by the top organizations in the world and show you  how to use them at your company.

12 candidates will be selected to be a part of this train-the-trainer class taught by best-selling author, keynote speaker,  consultant and THE Authority on delivering a world-class customer  experience John DiJulius.

This class is tailored to:

    ·    Corporate trainers

    ·    Consultants

    ·    Leadership teams

    ·    Small business owners

For details and selection process call Denise Thompson at 440-443-0023 and mention secret phrase “I’m a member of the customer service revolution” for early bird pricing.

 

Few seats remain available!

Any company in the world can do what you do,  

except deliver world-class customer service.”

FREE Teleseminar

September 14, 12 PM EST

  Teleseminar series

This September 14th join John DiJulius in the first of a NEW series of FREE Teleseminars based on the X-Commandments of world-class. 

 

The  first teleseminar will expand on The State of Service in  America.  Why are companies realizing poor service is a sure way to go  out of business? How the top service companies endure all economic  climates? How do you compete on experience not on price?   

  

To register follow these 2 easy steps:

  1. Become a member of the customer service revolution
  2. On September 14th at 12PM EST, you can listen in from your phone simply by dialing 214-775-0917 ID 742574# Or from your computers by going to this link:   http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=22213515 AND using PASSWORD 914TDG

Add this teleseminar to your Facebook or LinkedIN calendars so you don’t forget:

 Facebook Event LinkedIN Events

Register FREE today!

~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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The Secret Weapon for driving revenue | Price or Experience Wars | Full Disclosure

“Changing the World by Creating a Customer Service Revolution…

CUSTOMER SERVICE, THE SECRET WEAPON FOR DRIVING REVENUE
– Companies spend millions creating and advertising their brands, yet the customer’s experience is what drives customer perception. A recent study reaffirmed what every customer knows, but too many leaders continue to bury their head in the sand and ignore what research shows: that a great experience not only influences where they chose to buy, but also…

  • 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company as a result of a negative experience
  • 55% became the customer of a company because of their reputation for great customer service
  • 40% began purchasing from a competitive brand simply because of their reputation for great customer service
  • 85% of consumers said they would be willing to pay more over the standard price in order to ensure a superior customer experience

Are you competing on price or the experience?  Consumers aren’t only demonstrating power with their wallets, but they are influencing those around them as well. Whether consumers have a positive or negative experience, their friends, family, colleagues and networks are sure to hear about it; and what they are saying carries weight. The top three factors why consumers recommend a company:

  • 55% because of its customer service
  • 49% because of the product
  • 42% because of price

Read the entire report Customer Experience Report North America 2010 – RightNow

Full Disclosure – I have been getting more and more impatient with businesses’ lack of respect for my time. I hate to be kept waiting. Recently I went to a local diner with my family for Sunday breakfast, and upon arrival the hostess warned us saying, “I apologize. We are so busy today, our kitchen is really backed up. It may take a while before you get served.”  We all responded with something along the lines of, “We are in no rush.”  The waitress eventually got us our drinks, our order and kept stopping by during our wait to refresh our drinks and apologize for the long wait. Each time we kept reassuring her that we understood. The food finally arrived and we left happy.

What was funny was afterward, when I thought about the length of time between order and delivery of the food, it was significant. However, with her being upfront and apologetic, none of us were even the slightest bit upset. It is like when you see an employee nametag that says “In Training” underneath the name. You automatically feel for this person, are more patient, understanding, and sympathetic. You want to help them out so they do not feel so overwhelmed.  Disclosing the inevitable service defect upfront is a powerful tool to getting your customers to be more understanding and patient. It is when they are not told about the delay or why or how much longer that people feel taken advantage of and are less forgiving.

Exercise of the week – A few weeks ago I shared the FORD exercise, which measures your employees’ customer intelligence.  Another great exercise is the FORD exercise for your management team, asking them to fill in the following FORD on each of their employees. How well do they know the people that report to them on a daily basis?   This will demonstrate how well they retain employee intelligence:

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Dreams

Quote of the week

 

“We are not for everyone, nor do we want to be. We are for the 1% who want to

emerge as the best of the best and are not afraid to work hard and challenge themselves

 to see how much greatness they actually have inside.”

Receive a “Johnism” of the Day – join me on http://twitter.com/johndijulius

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO 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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Reverse Secret Service at Westin Hotels: Similarities between your employees’ jobs and Disney’s cast members: Southwest Airlines rapping flight attendant: Steve Jobs Quote

“Changing the World by Creating a Customer Service Revolution…”

Innovation Secrets by Carmine Gallo

Reverse Secret Service – While reading The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo, I came across an innovative initiative by the Westin Hotels, designed to encourage deeper relationships between hotel employees and guests: New employee name tags, which included this phrase, “My passion is ___________.”  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.

Call Center & Cast Members – Do you have employees in mundane roles, doing the same task over and over again all day long, answering the same questions, dealing with frustrated customers, whose problems and issues where not your fault? Well guess who else has the exact same scenarios, maybe even worse? Walt Disney World!  Disney is and always will be the leading example of world-class customer service.  Even though you have heard numerous examples, if you really think about it, they apply to any business.  I swore I would not share another Disney story until just recently when I heard someone say, “Our customer interactions are not as romantic as a theme park, where people are excited to be there. It is not apples to apples.”  I disagree!

I took my three boys to Disney World this past August — the absolute worst time to go. The temperature was in the mid-nineties, and the average wait time for an attraction was about 60 minutes.  It was miserable. Like everyone else, we waited, baking, all while the kids are whining, “How much longer.”  I observed the Disney cast members who stood there the entire time, in costumes, as uncomfortable as we all were. The only difference is that eventually we got to enjoy a ride, while they just ushered people on and off.  I saw them being asked the same stupid questions hundreds of times, “how much longer,” “my child has to go to the bathroom,” etc. They had to deal with frustrated customers who were literally losing their cool because of the anxiety of waiting in the heat with an impatient child. And I was amazed at these young 18-24 year olds and how well they kept their composure.  They acted like the questions were unique, they kept smiling, and I watched as tour guides returned with a new group, reloaded another dozen people and they had to start the script all over again.  They said it fresh and enthusiastically like it was their first tour of the day.

There is something to be learned from this about making sure our employees understand the importance of their roles in our customer’s day; and while it may be our 100th same old interaction of the day, it is our customers only one with us.  We owe it to them to provide an experience saying they were the only customer we contacted that day.

Adding theatre to your job – Just like call centers, receptionists, and cast members managing wait times, flight attendants’ jobs can get very monotonous by performing the same duties and saying the same scripts flight after flight, day after day.  You have to watch this video of how a Southwest flight attendant changed it up, making it a memorable experience for the passengers and himself, and breaking out of the same routine.

Resource of the WeekThe Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo. I am a huge Steve Jobs fan and found this book excellent. So much so, I had everyone at The DiJulius Group read this book.

Quote of the Week

“Leaders are fascinated by the future. You are a leader if, and only if, you are restless for change, impatient for progress, and deeply dissatisfied with the status quo. As a leader you are never satisfied with the present, because in your head you can see a better future, and the friction between what is and what could be burns you, stirs you, propels you forward.”

~Steve Jobs

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO 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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Is Your Training Contradicting What You Are Preaching? Company Leadership sends the message to employee that Service is not important

If you ask managers of any business how important their customers’ experience is to customer satisfaction (i.e. engaging, memorable, personalize, relationships, etc.), along with the quality of service or product they deliver, nearly every manager would say that the customer experience is critically important. Yet they contradict themselves by their actions.

Managers get frustrated because their employees and professional service personnel think it is all about the expertise. ‘Wowing’ the customer consistently takes a back seat. Why? Because it is just lip service by management! Want proof? Think about most professions; nearly all the degrees, licensing and on-going education is spent on the technical expertise of the profession. Now compare that with how much customer service training is put into a new employee and how much on-going training is put into an existing staff?  How many colleges offer Customer Service as a major, a minor, or even a class?

How many companies require their professional service providers to have certain levels of customer service training and/or licensing before they are allowed to work with customers, patients, or clients?  Hardly any.

Medical brilliance is a Commodity
A recent study found that, of the doctor’s surveyed, most seemed to overrate the patient service they provide. The following results are from research conducted in 2010 by The Management & Business Academy, sponsored by CIBA Vision and Essilor.

  • 97% of practices rate the quality of the service they provide as above average or higher.
  • 32% rate their service as “outstanding” – the best in their community.
  • When patients rave about the service of an optometric practice, they most commonly mention the quality of the human interaction that occurs during an office visit rather than the technical quality of the exam or the technology used in the practice.
  • The most frequently mentioned comment from highly satisfied patients is that “staff is friendly.”

This study presented research of highly satisfied patients, and rarely did the highly satisfied patients ever mention the technical competence of the doctor or staff, the technology used by the office or thoroughness of the exam.

What does this mean?
Patients expect excellent medical treatment and trust they will receive it at most professional medical practices and hospitals.  As a result, medical brilliance by itself is a commodity and unacceptable today as a single measuring tool.

Want more evidence of how important demonstrations of caring and compassion can be in the medical world?
Consider the following findings from the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell

  • The risk of being sued for malpractice has very little to do with how many mistakes a doctor makes.
  • Analysis of malpractice lawsuits shows that highly skilled doctors get sued. In nearly every single malpractice case, the patient was quoted as saying something negative about how the doctor made them feel.
  • At the same time, the overwhelming numbers of people who suffer an injury due to negligence of a doctor never file a malpractice suit at all. Why? Because of the bond they had with the doctor. They would never consider suing the doctor or his practice, even though there was negligence on the part of their doctor.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
Patients don’t file lawsuits because they’ve been harmed by shoddy medical care only. It is how their doctor treated them on a personal level. People don’t sue doctors they like.

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“THE SIX COMPONENTS OF A CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE”

In order to create brand loyalty and customer evangelists, you must operate at a high level in six distinct areas of business and constantly evaluate your company’s customer service across each category, separately, and as categories overlap:

1. Physical: Deals with the actual brick-and-mortar component of your operation. These are the physical elements that are more permanent or long term, that cannot be changed daily.

2. Setting: Refers to the controllable setting you create daily. As Disney says, “Everything speaks from the doorknobs to the dining rooms sends a message to the guest.”  The setting communicates a message about what you can provide your customers. This isn’t always visual, it may be the music your customers hear when they call and are placed on hold or the mood your web site creates. The setting reveals the characteristics of your business as they appeal to the five senses of your customer: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.

3. Functional: Refers to the ease of doing business with you-return policies, hours of operations, and other factors. Functionality has nothing to do with human interactions, such as being pleasant or saying please or thank you.

4. Technical: Refers to your staff ’s level of expertise in their particular skills and in the company’s systems and equipment, such as product and job knowledge. Again, this has nothing to do with whether they are nice.

5. Operational: Refers to the actions that team members must execute behind the scenes before, during, and after a customer’s experience. These actions assist in the day-to-day transactions with customers, the tasks, compliances, and duties of our jobs.

6. Experiential: Refers to the actions that team members execute while interacting with the customer. Those actions that make the customer say “WOW!” The customer is delightfully surprised. Experiential actions are the reason why customers return, refer others, and become brand evangelists. These include Secret Service, personalization, anticipating customer’s needs, and others.

Let’s look at some real-life examples of these components:

• Your server is the most incompetent waitress (technical) you have ever met, but she is trying her hardest and being extremely nice (experiential).
• The place needs a good paint job (physical).
• The store where you shop is always out of what you want (operational).
• Your favorite store is difficult to get to and has barely any parking (physical).
• This salon has high energy and always smells great (setting).
• The quality of the food (technical) is unfit for human consumption.
• An associate overheard that you really wanted a diet drink and ran across the street to the drugstore to get it for you (experiential).
• At the diner, everything is themed 1950s style (setting).
• It is impossible to get a human being on the phone. No matter what you try, you cannot get out of the company’s voice-mail maze (functionality).
• The company has a 24-hour answering service and guarantees a call
back within 60 minutes (functionality).

• My sales rep always screws up my order (technical).

Specific examples of each of these six components are:

Physical

Brick and mortar

Building

Structure

Architecture

Location

Accessibility

Parking availability

Design

Décor

Public areas

Floor coverings

Signage

Spaciousness

Handicap accessible

Setting

Ambience

Candles

Theme

Lighting

Acoustics

Grounds

Furnishings

Comfort of chairs,beds, etc.

Mood

Signage

Sound system

TV placement

Noise level

Functional

Policies

Hours of operation

Ease of doing business

Accessibility to a human being

Product selection

Design of your web site

How well you are staffed

Reliability of vendors

Security

Payment options

Phone number on website

Technical

Employees level of

expertise

Speed of your technology

Computers

State of the art

technology

Ability to use your website

Equipment

Phone system

Software

Product knowledge

Quality of product

Timeliness

Knowledge

Operational

Daily tasks

Cleaning

Dress code

Preparation

Answering the phone

Duties

Checking people out

Processing orders

Functions of the job

Compliances

Paperwork

Experiential

Hospitality

Customer engagement

Personalization

Above and beyond

Using the customer’s name

Remembering preferences

Presentation of food

Verbiage/vocabulary of staff

Congeniality

Willingness to help

Anticipating needs

Service recovery

Soft skills

An example of physical excellence would be the beauty of Disney parks or how The Cheesecake Factory restaurants are designed. Starbucks has mastered setting, from the comfortable, inviting furniture to how well they merchandise their cafes, just as Disney has mastered how well they theme their parks and hotels. A couple of great examples of Functional excellence are Nordstrom department stores and Zappos.com who have simplified the process of returning merchandise.

Cleanliness is a great example of operational excellence. When you are considering your customer’s experience, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Consider a hospital room, or massage or facial room. Because patients and customers are lying down for extended periods of time, they may notice the condition of areas of the room employees never look at.

As for the sixth component of the customer’s experience, experiential excellence, there is no need to provide specific examples here because the rest of this book is focused on experiential standards.

Keep in mind that it is important to constantly review how customer friendly your company is in each department. With regards to training of new and existing employees, the majority of your training will deal primarily with technical, operational, and experiential.

The vast majority of companies focus their training on the technical with very little if any emphasis on the experiential. Having been fortunate to work with some of the best customer-service companies in the world, I have both learned and helped create some amazing training that truly prepares new employees to be able to provide a world-class experience, regardless of their backgrounds.

Are any of the components more important than another? No, all are critical and all need to be reviewed and tweaked on a regular basis. The components differ significantly in terms of required people skills training. Physical, setting and functionality have little to do with training or people skills, but the other three components absolutely do involve people skills and training. There is a difference, however, in the training required for each component. It is much easier to train employees on technical and operational skills; they are job-specific, and they include easy-to-train subjects, such as product knowledge, and checklists. Also, technical and operational skills tend to be present and thorough because of prior education, degrees, licensing, certifications, and trade schools.

Many industries today mandate continuing education credit hours. The vast majority of companies are weakest in the experiential category.

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices. John DiJulius is the innovator of a methodology called Secret Service a customer service system which consistently enables organizations to deliver World-Class Customer Experiences. Find out more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, the #1 National Customer Service Conference.

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EVERYTHING SPEAKS: CUSTOMER SERVICE IS PROJECTED IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS


[tweetmeme source=”http://www.twitter.com/dijuliusgroup”]Your customer service has many legs and pockets.   It is not only the way your employees interact with your customers, but it’s all the messages being sent to your customers in countless ways. Everything speaks: verbal cues, systems, technology, physical signage, uniforms, etc.  It is imperative you take a step back and review any negative cues that are making your business appear less than world class.

Verbal – Medical practices are the leaders in negative cues of all kinds. First, negative verbal cues: when a patient is checking in and the receptionist says, “We need to VERIFY your information.”  Verify makes me feel like they don’t believe who I am; that maybe I am trying to use someone else’s insurance information.  How about saying, “we need to CONFIRM your information?”  Another example is when a patient is being seen by a doctor and a nurse comes into the room during the exam and says, “Your 10:30 is here,” or “You have a call on line 2.” At that point I am convinced the doctor is now rushing and more concerned with the patient waiting rather than focusing on me. Some great medical practices have created both verbal and non-verbal codes for this.

Signage has by far the highest occurrence of negative cues.  I have collected so many examples over the years and am constantly receiving more each week from all of you.  Businesses are so concerned about getting taken advantage of by 2% of customers that they end up insulting 98% with threatening signage.  Here are just a few examples:

This is an actual sign on the glass door at the entrance to a high-end wine bar located in a beautiful shopping area.  There are 12 things they tell you that you cannot wear. But they have a line underneath it all that says, “Business casual or business attire is suggested.”  Couldn’t they have just put that on the door?

This one is so popular that Amazon.com actually sells it!  I have another one that says, “No English, No Service!”


I was recently speaking to a group in Sydney Australia, where a partner of one of the most successful real estate companies in Sydney approached me. The partner confessed that he has some negative cues.  When they have an open house for potential buyers, they display the following sign on the door that reads, “CONDITIONS OF ENTRY,” and it proceeds to tell you that you cannot enter with food or drink or shoes or unaccompanied children or a slew of others barriers to viewing the house.  I was so excited when this gentleman said, “I realized we could position this notice in a more positive way by saying:

Out of respect for the homeowner, we appreciate your removing shoes…

He got it!

On Stage vs. Off Stage
Do your employees really know what is considered on stage and off stage? I recently worked with some QSRs (quick-service restaurants) and after touring some of their locations, I repeatedly saw their employees on break, standing in front of the restaurant where customers were walking by, smoking.  This goes back to last week’s service aptitude article.  This is not their fault.   To them, they are on break and can do what they want.  It is management’s responsibility to make them aware that even though they are not interacting with customers while on break, if they are in uniform where customers can see them, they are “on stage.”  This can apply to all our businesses. I worked with a hospital and found nurses chatting behind the nurses’ station forgetting that they still can be seen and heard by patients and their visitors.

It is critical that you do a periodic review of the negative cues that can be expressed in numerous ways and can project a less than world-class image.

About the Author
~John DiJulius is President and Chief Visionary Officer of  The DiJulius Group, a customer experience consulting firm used by top organizations, to create, develop, and improve their customer service systems. Our customer service consulting engagements help improve and maintain a healthier corporate culture and performance; lower employee turnover costs; increase customer retention factors; generate more referrals and make price less relevant. Companies across the world use The DiJulius Group to create World-Class Customer Experiences every day.  John will be a presenter at The Secret Service Summit 2010.




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