John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


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”

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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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It’s about TIME | AMAZON’s Bezos | The New Word of Mouth

“Changing the World by Creating a Customer Service Revolution…

It’s about TIME – Speed of time and speed of service are as critical to the customer experience as anything.  Too often it is part of fundamentals, but does not get the time it deserves in operations, training, and mindshare of all employees. Everyone in the organization has to understand how valuable time is to the customer.

No time to Wait – In the great book, The Amazement Revolution, by my good friend, Shep Hyken, (who has been a keynote speaker at the Secret Service Summit) articulates very well the importance of time. Hyken shares how consumers consistently report to researchers that they are working harder and longer hours than ever before, that they experience serious stress in their lives because of the lack of available time to do everything they want to do, and that they flat-out resent being kept waiting. It is vital that business demonstrate to their customers that their time is always regarded as a critical resource. Their time will always be respected by sending silent cues and signals such as, “I am here. I see you. You are the most important priority for me right now, and I am not putting any other task in front of the task of serving you.”

New Word of Mouth – Word of mouth use to be the most influential tool to a brand’s reputation.  Today is a new age, and through social media outlets, the voice of the customer can create brand evangelists or brand assassins at warp speeds. College Works Painting, headquartered in Southern California, has always prided themselves on being at the top of their industry for customer service; but they found out the hard way about the new word of mouth. One unhappy, disgruntled customer created a blog where he complained aggressively about the job that was done for him.   His blog dominated the search engines for four years.  As a result of this brand terrorism CWP estimates that it lost millions in revenue and countless employee candidates.

Just say Yes – As a result of the beating CWP took from that nasty blogger, CEO Matt Stewart now Matt Stewart shares the lessons he learned. “After committing to truly becoming a world-class customer service organization, we changed our entire culture and attitude toward every customer we contact. We don’t care who is right or wrong, we look at ourselves through the eyes of any customer, and we fight for 100% satisfaction.  We say ‘sorry’ more, we say ‘yes’ more, and we move very fast and very transparently. Our philosophy is Yes is always the answer, now what is the question? This is a way of life for us, and for me personally.”  You can hear Matt live, as he is one of our keynote presenters at this year’s Secret Service Summit.  Matt will share how he has helped to build multiple successful businesses based on delivering a world-class customer and employee experience.

“…To be the earth’s most customer centric company” – A pretty ambitious goal, but I wouldn’t bet against the author of that statement, Jeff Bezos.  Recently Success Magazine featured the founder and President of Amazon.com in their August issue and as always, the pioneer stressed how Amazon’s Jeff Bezos from Amazonsuccess is built around fanatical drive on the customer experience. Some excerpts from Bezos: “The customer experience is the critical guiding hand. Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”  With that type of vision from the President, is it any wonder why Amazon.com has revolutionized not only ecommerce, but also retailing and publishing as well? The article said, “If the Internet were rock & roll, Bezos was its Elvis.” Bezos cites the fundamental differences between an entrepreneur and professional management, “entrepreneurs are more stubborn about the vision and keep working on the details. One of the dangers about bringing in professional managers is the first thing they want to alter is the vision. The rule of thumb is to be stubborn on the big things and flexible on the details.”

Quote of the Week –

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

the best-of-the-best and are not afraid to work harder 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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ZERO RISK

You can make the argument that in business, achieving Zero Risk is as important as consistently achieving delivery of your non-negotiable service standards. Zero Risk addresses an intimidating array of issues such as service defects, lack of concern about the customer’s experience, and incidents or emergencies that aren’t a company’s fault.

“These all produce unhappy customers.”

But what does Zero Risk look like from the consumer side? As a customer, Zero Risk means you have a sense of security knowing that when you deal with a company, if something goes wrong, that company will make it right. There’s no risk (Zero Risk) on the customer’s part to deal with that company or business.

How many Zero Risk companies do you deal with? The following scenario happens every day.  You are unhappy with your experience as a customer. You express your displeasure to a front-line employee who looks at you like a deer in your headlights. At best, that employee may say “Sorry” — but that’s it. The employee isn’t allowed, or required, or trained to fix the problem. It’s obvious that nobody at the company cares whether you are disappointed, and you realize it is a waste of time and energy to try to do anything about it. So you just stop reporting your displeasure, and more importantly, you stop going back. Dealing with a company like that is High Risk and the opposite of Zero Risk.

Today, we expect very little from companies. We feel it is a waste of time to complain because companies will be defensive and will not take responsibility for the problem. By now you probably have heard the urban legend about a customer who returned tires to a Nordstrom store and Nordstrom refunded the money even though it has never sold tires. It doesn’t matter whether or not the story is true.  What does matter is that Nordstrom has an almost mythical status for its “no-hassle” customer service.

I admit that I love to shop at Nordstrom. They have made price irrelevant for me because they provide great service, and I know they are a Zero Risk company. I don’t have to worry about returning an item within 30 days or saving my receipt because Nordstrom just doesn’t haggle over these details.

I have a personal “tire experience” story with Nordstrom. One day, as I put on a nice pair of shoes, I noticed that the tongue was damaged in one of them. At first I thought nothing could be done about the situation because the shoes were nearly a year old. But then I remembered that my wife had purchased them at Nordstrom.  I decided to put Nordstrom’s reputation to the test. I took the shoes to my Nordstrom in Beachwood, Ohio, and asked for the general manager.  Fran Broda introduced herself to me as the general manager and asked how she could assist me.

“My wife purchased these shoes here nearly a year ago, and one of them is now defective.” Fran looked at the shoe. “I don’t believe Nordstrom has ever sold this brand of shoes.” I firmly disagreed.  “I am pretty confident my wife purchased these here. She buys all my shoes from Nordstrom.”

“Regardless, let me see what we can do. We should be able to repair it. Can you leave it with us for a few hours?” she replied.  I have to admit that I was a little surprised.

At first I felt that she was trying to get out of fixing the shoe. (Maybe the tire story really was a myth.) Could their customer service be overrated? I was sure I would have to pay for the repair, especially as Fran wasn’t admitting to having sold them in the first place. A few hours later, I returned to Nordstrom. The shoe was fixed and as good as new.  Better yet, to my great surprise, at no charge!

Driving home, I thought, “That was Zero Risk. They stood behind their product and fixed it, even though my shoes were nearly a year old.” I gave them a 9 on a scale of 10, losing 1 point because Fran tried to say Nordstrom’s hadn’t sold the shoes to me. When I got home, I told my wife the story. She immediately told me that Fran Broda was right! My wife remembered buying the shoes someplace else. So Nordstrom scored a perfect 10. At no charge they had repaired a used shoe that they hadn’t even sold!

“Nordstrom is truly a Zero Risk company.”

~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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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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CUSTOMER SERVICE IS AN INVESTMENT: SERVICE IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT IN TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES
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John DiJulius

John DiJulius - Presenter at The 2010 Secret Service Summit

Recently a survey was conducted in the US and eleven other countries exploring attitude and preferences customers have toward who they spend their money with based on the customer service they experience (read the entire article).

Here is a summary of the findings.

  • The majority say customer service is even more important to them in today’s economic environment
  • 61% will spend an average of 9% more when they believe a company provides excellent service
  • Only 37% feel businesses have increased their focus on providing better customer service
  • 27% feel businesses have not changed their attitude toward customer service
  • 28% say companies are now paying less attention to good service
  • 91% consider the level of customer service important when deciding to do business with a company
  • 81% of consumers are likely to give a company repeat business after a good experience
  • 52% will never do business again with a company after receiving a poor experience
  • The three most influential factors when deciding which companies they do business with include:
    • Personal experience (98%)
    • A company’s reputation (92%)
    • Recommendations from family & friends (88%)
  • Just about half of consumers use online postings/blogs to get others’ opinions about a company’s customer service reputation

World-Class Customer Service Companies recognize the value
“Customers expect superior customer service especially in this tight economic environment,” says Jim Bush, Executive VP, World Service at American Express. “Many customers say companies haven’t done enough to improve their approach to customer service, yet it’s clear they’re willing to spend more with those who deliver excellent service, suggesting substantial growth opportunities for businesses that get customer service right. It’s important to see service as an investment, not a cost.”

“We know that luxurious touches don’t matter to guests unless the service surpasses the setting,” said Simon Cooper, president, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC. And Susan Reilly Salgado, managing director of Danny Meyer’s learning business, says, “Service is about the technical delivery of the product, while hospitality is about how guests feel during that transaction.”

How Service is Valued Globally
The report found that consumers from different countries feel that customer service has become more important to businesses in the current economy.

Consumers feel that companies have increased their focus on providing good customer service

Best

  • India 65%
  • Japan 49%
  • Mexico 47%

Worst

  • Australia 29%
  • Germany 34%
  • Canada 35%
  • Italy 35%

In summary, customer loyalty is the strongest asset a company can have in any economy.  There are significant growth opportunities for companies that want to compete on the experience they deliver versus getting caught up in the price wars.  There are fewer players competing in the experience arena. Customer Service must be viewed as an investment, not an expense!

~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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