John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


TRAINING TO PROVIDE A WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCE
John DiJulius

John DiJulius

[tweetmeme source=”http://www.twitter.com/dijuliusgroup”]Quality training must include systems and processes that remove variation and provide a consistent customer experience.  A common misconception is that the only way to get better people is to pay more than everyone else. There are many great examples of world-class companies who do not necessarily pay better than their competitors. In fact, employees at Disney, Starbucks and Nordstrom are hired from the same labor pool every other organization uses and are paid the going rates. The real reason why Disney employees are so good at customer service is how well they are transformed into Walt Disney Cast Members, which occurs in their training.  In most cases, the most recently hired, least trained, lowest-paid employees deal with the customers the most.

What determines the consistency of delivering the experience is the quality of the systems and training that every new and existing employee goes through. Just like in sports, the contest, match, or game, is decided long before the actual event takes place. It is won in the practice and the preparation leading up to the event.

Inadequate training is definitely the biggest underlying reason for the inconsistency and scarcity of great customer service. Companies skimp on training because it costs money, but companies that invest in customer service by training their new employees reap great financial benefits.

To be a world-class customer service organization, your training should include the following:

  • A company orientation that covers company policy and the company’s history.
  • The functional components of the specific job.
  • The operational procedures of the job.
  • All technical training, including product knowledge, use of equipment/tools, software and other technology, plus scope of services.
  • Experiential training on soft skills (especially how to create relationships and personalize encounters), preventing customers from feeling like transactions, and customer recovery techniques.
  • On-the-job shadowing.
  • Testing and certification, including extensive testing on experiential skills.

Map the Customer’s Experience Journey

Identify all the significant points of interaction, called “stages,” that your customers may have with your company. Once you have mapped out your customer experience stages, you need to get your employees involved in helping to create what those stages should look like. You then break each stage down into four individual components:

1) Service Defects – All the things that can ruin the customer’s experience at this stage.

2) Operational Standards – All the tasks or jobs for each stage.

3) Experiential Standards – The actions that will create an exceptional experience and a raving fan.

4) Above-and-Beyond Opportunities – Common situations that we want our front-line employees to recognize and be prepared for in order to make a customer’s day.

Let your team help create this experience. Once you have your final version of service defects, standards, and above-and-beyond opportunities, you can create a training manual that all new employees get trained and tested on during their first two weeks with your company.

Action Plan
It is imperative for companies to ensure that every employee – new and existing – truly understands the organization’s Customer Experience Promise. The Customer Experience Promise is what the organization is supposed to deliver to their customers, consistently, at every stage of interaction. Every employee needs to understand the importance of each point of contact, what to avoid, the company’s non-negotiable standards that every customer must receive, and the potential opportunities to really “wow” them. Organizations need to make sure their Customer Experience Promise is structured in such a way that all employees learn, understand and execute it.

~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.



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.



Wow Your Customers 3 Keys for Delivering Great Customer Service

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The term “customer service” evokes different images in people’s minds. One image could be that of friendly, smiling, helpful employees who go out of their way to serve you. Or it could be the opposite – indifferent, unfriendly employees who can’t wait for you to leave or hang up the phone.

Most people can recall many examples of poor customer service. Whether it’s the help desk employee that puts you on hold for 20 minutes or the store cashier who engages in a personal conversation instead of ringing up your purchase, poor customer service can make people feel frustrated and vow never to do business with that company again.

On the other hand, great service feels like a gift. It makes us want to continue to do business with an organization over the long haul. And that alone is the secret to business success – retaining customers by providing great customer service. With so much competition out there, customer loyalty is the single most important attribute your business can have. You achieve loyalty by doing the “little things” that make customers want to deal with you again and again and recommend you to their friends. The real difference is how a business makes their customers feel. If customers feel valued, most will remain loyal. If they feel under-valued, sooner or later they will defect to a competitor.

Several reasons exist for why customers defect from a company. The customer may move away, a competitor may lure them away, or they may leave because they are unhappy with the product. However, a recent study found that a whopping sixty-eight percent of customers who defect do so because of poor service. That’s a sobering statistic. The study further noted how customers defined poor service: “an attitude of indifference on the part of employees.” So while bad service certainly causes customers to leave, indifferent service can be just as detrimental.

With every two out of three customers citing poor customer service as a reason for leaving, what can your company do to achieve customer loyalty? Assuming your products and prices are competitive, you need to focus on providing superior customer service in order to gain loyalty. To do that, here are three simple steps to help you make sure your customers stay with your company.

1) Look through the “lens of the customer”

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are that you interact with customers at some level. Realize that customers can be shoppers at a store, patrons at a bank, patients of a doctor, clients of a law firm, etc. Because customers have their choice of where to obtain goods or services, the business has to convince the customer that they truly care. An engaged, caring employee raises the customer’s confidence that the business is looking out for the customer’s interests. When that employee suggests a new product or service, the customer trusts that his or her best interest is at heart. On the flip side, if the customer senses a lack of caring, he/she will question the motives behind any recommendations.

Every business has its jargon, so be careful to speak in a language that customers understand. Successful businesses speak the language of the customer, not the language of their own industry. Take, for example, the banking industry. Would a young couple buying their first house be looking through the same lens as a customer who buys and sells real estate for a living? Of course not. That young couple purchasing their first house is excited and nervous – that is the lens with which they are experiencing this purchase. Therefore, they need loan officers who are excited for them, who explain the terms in everyday language, and who provide information that will make their buying experience easier. A bank that shows that level of care is likely to earn that young couple’s ongoing business.

The same applies for customer complaints, which can be frustrating for customers and employees alike. As employees, we often can’t understand why a customer is making such a big deal about a particular issue. Didn’t the customer read the contract? (Probably not.) Doesn’t the customer understand that researching a problem takes time? (No, they don’t.) Remember, it’s not the customer’s job to see through the business’s lens; it’s the business’s job to see through the customer’s lens and show an understanding of the customer’s frustration.

Next time you are working with a customer, stop and ask yourself: “Am I seeing this experience through the customer’s lens?”

2) When it comes to a company’s environment, recognize that “everything speaks”

Imagine visiting a fine dining restaurant for a special occasion. You’ve been looking forward to the meal and you’ve heard good things about the restaurant. Then imagine noticing something crusty dried to your silverware and old lipstick marks on your water glass. Wouldn’t you begin worrying about the cleanliness and quality of everything else in the restaurant? Everything speaks!
Now imagine a customer entering your place of business. She notices trash in the parking lot. When she enters the reception area, she sees delivery boxes stacked by the receptionist’s desk. She sees employees standing around eating and having personal conversations. All of this detracts from your business’s image. Consciously or unconsciously, the customer’s antennae go up and makes them question, “Do I really want to spend my money here?”

The “everything speaks” philosophy means that all employees understand that even the little things count. So pay attention to everything, including whether the physical environment is neat and clean, whether all necessary supplies are available, whether the employees are dressed appropriately, etc. Anything that sticks out as “wrong” becomes an intrusion on the customer experience. These intrusions add up and result in customer concern. On the other hand, when customers sense an atmosphere of professionalism, care, and order, they feel a sense of confidence.

How many times have you seen employees in a business walk right by trash on the floor or a display that has been bumped out of alignment? Employees who understand that everything speaks will take a moment to pick up some wadded paper and straighten the display because they know that such behaviors have a direct impact on the customer experience.

Take a moment to think about your company’s environment. Since everything speaks, what are the details saying about your organization?

3) Create customer “wows”

Small gestures can create customer wows. Consider the housekeepers working in the hotels at Walt Disney World. Housekeepers have a tough job. Cleaning up after people on vacation is a challenge. Even in such a challenging job, Disney’s housekeepers will do little things that make guests say, “Wow.” For example, while spending a day in the Magic Kingdom children will often leave their stuffed Disney characters in their hotel room. Housekeepers have been known to position the characters with playing cards in their hands or tuck the characters into the children’s bed to create a moment of magic.

Employees can do many things to create wows. Remembering a customer’s name is a huge wow, creating a feeling of family. Letting a customer know that another product may better meet their needs is another wow. Sending a goody basket with a handwritten note to that young couple who just took out their first mortgage is a wow. Some wows are small and some are large, but make no mistake about it – wows add up.

One of the most powerful ways to create wows is to share best practices with fellow employees. Hold a company meeting so employees can share things that they have done that dazzled customers. Just talking about these behaviors increases the likelihood that others will adopt some of the practices or create new ones of their own. It is also likely that some wows can become standard procedure, whether it’s a grocery store bakery handing out fresh-baked cookies to children, or salespeople escorting customers to a product rather than simply pointing.

Next time you’re helping a customer, ask yourself, “Will my behaviors make this customer say or think, ‘wow’?”

Take Action Now

Excellent service is not about policy manuals. Excellent service is about excellent behaviors. When employees focus on excellent service, the results can be magical. Customers are happy, employees are happy, and shareholders are happy. Everyone wins. The key is to make service excellence a habit. Encourage every employee to internalize the above steps so they become habits. When employees focus on these principles, your company will achieve the most powerful result of all – intense customer loyalty.

About the Author
~Dennis Snow is a a speaker at The 2010 Secret Service Summit business author, speaker, and consultant who helps organizations develop world-class customer service. He is the author of two books, “Lessons From the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life” (DC Press), and “Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service.” (Wiley). Dennis can be reached at www.snowassociates.com, or at 407.294.1855.

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EMPATHY OUTWEIGHS ACTION

Marriott World Center Orlando

Recently I was a keynote speaker at a company’s annual conference held in Orlando, Florida. Their meeting was held at the Marriott World Center, the largest Marriott property in the world.  When I arrived from the airport at around 10:00 am, I requested of the nice bellman to please have my luggage sent directly to my room so I could meet with the meeting planner and then deliver my keynote.

Unexpected Surprise

By the time my presentation and book signing were completed, it was now 5:00 pm. I was free, but I had a productive night scheduled. My plan was to run up to my room, change out of my suit and tie and go work out. I would then come back to my room, order room service and get caught up on several days of piled up email.

Well, things didn’t work out as planned. When I got to my room, I searched for my luggage, but it was nowhere. I then called down to the front desk, informing them that the bellman never delivered my luggage as requested.  Shortly after, the front desk called me back and said they were unable to locate my luggage, but would try to as quickly as possible.  So here it goes again: yet another horrible customer service experience!

I sat in my room, in a robe, like a prisoner. I had no workout clothes, couldn’t go to the gym like I had planned, my evening schedule was being compromised, and everything was getting pushed back. Why me?  I was working myself up, getting stressed over the inconvenience, and imagining a horrible night’s sleep as a result.

Opportunity to be a Hero

What seemed to be hours later (actually only 10 minutes at most since I called the front desk looking for my luggage), the phone in my room rang. “Mr. DiJulius, this is James. I am the head bellman. I want to apologize for your inconvenience. We haven’t found your luggage yet, but I promise you we will soon. Can I ask you if there was anything in particular you needed that I can send up to your room?”

I responded with, “Just my work-out cloths. I was planning on getting a work out in.”

James responded, “Mr. DiJulius, I apologize. If we do not locate your luggage within the next 15 minutes, I would be happy to get you a pair of workout shorts, tee shirt and tennis shoes from our store outside our spa. Can you tell me your sizes?”

I responded that he didn’t have to do that!  I could easily flip -flop my plans and get my emails done first, and hopefully by then my luggage would be found and I’d work out then.

James said, ”Are you sure?  I promise you, I will personally find your luggage and get it to you ASAP! You are the last person we want to inconvenience, and I am truly sorry.”

I responded, “James, I appreciate your effort, really. I am fine. There’s no inconvenience. Thank you.”  Within 15 minutes James brought my luggage to the room, and I thanked him and gave him a big tip for his effort.

Attitude Adjustment

What happened here? One moment I was an angry guest, working myself up, feeling sorry for myself: poor me, why does this have to happen to me, my entire night is screwed up, not realizing that I had an option of rearranging my plans.  The next minute I was feeling bad for the bellman, telling him I was fine with plenty of things to do, it wasn’t an inconvenience at all, stop with the fuss.   Why did this attitude transformation occur? (I went from being a potentially angry dissatisfied customer to telling them they were making too much of a fuss.)  Because this particular Marriott properly trained their associates to recognize when something goes wrong, empathize immediately with the customer, and instead of focusing on the problem, (missing luggage) to focus on the inconvenience and offer solutions and alternatives.  As a result of James’ sincere empathy to my horrible situation (exaggerated in my mind), the situation flipped and I was feeling badly for him and how hard he was trying to please me.

While they may complain about the Service Defect,

They are going to rave about how we handle it!

World-Class customer service companies train their employees to be Zero Risk. Commandment VII is anticipating your service defects and having service recovery protocols in place to make them right.  We can’t eliminate things from going wrong, but what we can do is reduce errors and be better prepared to be a hero when things do go wrong.  With over 2,000 visitors per day, just on that sheer volume, Marriott is going to misplace a small percentage of luggage from time to time.  They know this and they are prepared.

  • Have you recognized the reoccurring service defects in your operations?
  • Have you trained your employees on how to show empathy and recognize the inconvenience versus the problem?
  • Do you have protocols in place to turn your potentially upset customers into even more loyal evangelist?

~John DiJulius is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, consultant and the President and CVO of The DiJulius Group.

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FIGURING OUT WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE TRULY BUYING FROM US IS THE SECRET
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At John Robert’s Spa, we have always made our Service Vision crystal clear to our employees, starting in the interview process.  Our Service Vision has been the same since day one: February, 1993. Stacy DiJulius, founder of John Robert’s Spa, was passionate about bringing something more to the beauty industry than just good hair.  Stacy’s vision was, as a team, to “Enhance the quality of lives around us.”

Whose lives? Team members, guests, and community.

How? Through providing the “JRX,”  The John Robert’s Xperience.  The JRX is delivered by providing three critical elements of the John Robert’s Xperience, so when we provide one or more of them, we become more of a non-negotiable entity in our customer’s lives and make price significantly less relevant.  The three critical elements of the John Robert’s Xperience are Fashion, Escape and Confidence.

  • Fashion – Our guests trust us with the most sacred thing they have, their appearance. They depend on us to have cutting edge skills and expertise that will guide them to look their absolute best. They should not be able to find a more highly trained service provider anywhere in the industry.
  • Escape – It is a stressful world out there, and everyone is trying to balance so much between work and home life. We are that one place where they can get away for a 60 minute vacation, unwind, and be replenished.
  • Confidence – Self-esteem cannot be measured. But we put the bounce back in people’s step. The one they get when they know they look their best. The confidence that gives them a huge advantage in their daily lives.

When we get our team members to focus on selling fashion, an escape & confidence we become an incredible value.  When we sell a 5:30 haircut or manicure, we sell an expensive haircut or manicure.  Which is why we focus on marketing the JRX 365 days a year to our team members in countless ways.  I know this has been a key reason we had 16 consecutive years of positive sales growth. Last year, during one of the most difficult economic times, we were only down 4% compared to the rest of our industry which was down over 20%. This year we’ve had more than 5% growth over last year.

SuperService
The success of Superquinn grocery store, 17 locations in Dublin, Ireland, can be traced to whatSuperquinn the owner, Feargal Quinn, calls the “boomerang principle”; doing everything to keep customers coming back, which often means looking past short-term expenses to long-term customer loyalty.

Here is how Superquinn does not let the boomerang principle be a fancy buzzword: They have a concierge on the premises who recommends restaurants or helps organize parties; a greeter who looks after shopping carts, offers coffee or soup to shoppers, and is responsible for recognizing and directing new customers. Superquinn also provides an umbrella service for unprepared shoppers who get caught in a sudden downpour, package carryout to customers’ cars, and a delivery service to customers’ homes. Every Superquinn store is equipped with a playhouse area, staffed by trained child-care specialist, where Superquinn customers can leave their children to play, free of charge, while they shop.

Superquinn also has a Superclub program, which is a loyalty program. It is not like all the rest; its uniqueness is in how Superquinn uses the loyalty program to create services that are valued by customers. For instance, customers can get reward points on their cards for pointing out problems in the stores such as wobbly shopping carts or an out-of-date product. This has turned their entire customer base into Quality Control Agents while having fun at the same time. The Superclub card also makes it possible for Superquinn to understand its customers. The card clearly identifies customers as members of a particular household, which allows them to collect the purchase history of the entire household. When the customer checks out with the Superclub card, his or her name is displayed on the cashier’s screen, allowing the cashier to address the customer by name.

~John DiJulius 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. 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.  He will be presenting in SAN DIEGO this September 15th, 2010.  Click here for details.

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Key to a Service-Oriented Culture is Employing People with Service DNA ~ by John DiJulius
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John DiJuliusHaving a service vision for your company is only the first step in developing a top-flight, customer experience oriented business. Even the most visionary organizations can’t pull off top service if they don’t have a world-class internal culture. That is accomplished only by attracting, hiring and retaining only those people who have the all-important service DNA.

As business leaders, we need to have standards that require prospective employees to earn the right to be a part of our company. Having a set of non-negotiable hiring standards will turn your prospective employees either on or off.

People need to earn the right to work for you. The main objective of any human resource person who conducts first interviews with prospective hires is to try to scare the applicant out of working for you. If the applicant doesn’t scare, chances are high that he or she is a good fit for your company. What “scare” really means is to help candidates recognize that a job at your company may be either a much bigger commitment than they wanted or exactly what they have been looking for. In order to do this, your company needs to have its own set of non-negotiable hiring standards.

Very similar to creating the service vision, there are two distinct parts of creating your hiring standards:

  1. creating the values that truly embody what your company stands for and
  2. being able to articulate those values to potential, new and seasoned employees so clearly and passionately that, within minutes, you can tell if your are turning them on or off.
Otherwise, it will just be another company slogan.

A world-class culture does not compromise values; rather, it remains faithful to values, even when remaining faithful means doing things differently from everyone else. A legendary culture is created in the head and the heart of the leader and passed from team member to team member.

Build the culture and the customers will come

If you truly want to be a world-class customer experience organization, then you have to be the employer of choice. And to do that, you need to be known for four things:

  • Being a great place to work
  • Providing great training
  • Having superior customer service
  • Offering unlimited opportunity

If you can create that type of reputation, you will never have a shortage of applicants.

The employee career experience

The employee career experience encompasses the traditional stages an employee has during his or her career with your company. These stages are quite consistent from company to company; recruiting, screening and hiring, orientation and training, 90 days after hire, six months after hire, one year after hire, two years after hire, and after five or more years of employment.

Because the employee’s mentality is different at each stage, managers need to be trained how to coach, so they effectively emphasize and avoid certain factors at each stage. By creating this, you are designing a blueprint on how to create a positive working environment. This blueprint teaches new managers – and reminds experienced managers – how to create a great culture throughout an employee’s career in a way that continually reinforces his or her emotional capital in the company.

There are three components of each stage: service defects, standards and above-and-beyond opportunities.

Service defects are the things that the company and management need to avoid at each stage because those things can cause the employee’s morale to take a nosedive.

Standards are actions we want the company and management to deliver at each stage because those are the things that will differentiate the company from any other company for which the employee has ever worked.

And finally, above-and-beyond opportunities allow management to demonstrate a culture of going out of their way to care about the individual employee, leaving a reoccurring impression that this company is unlike any other for which they have worked.

I have never come across a world-class customer service organization that wasn’t a world-class company to work for — not only vertically (management to employee) but horizontally (employee to employee), as well.



WHY? ~ by Nicole Flesher

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https://i0.wp.com/www.thedijuliusgroup.com/display/images/001114_nicole.jpgBecause of my 5 year old, I have become very familiar with this question. For the last two and a half years, I have been asked WHY about every possible thing there is. After about a year I realized how effective the question really is. It really gets you the answer you want! If you start thinking like a toddler, you’ll get your answer.

As a service provider I started asking my guests WHY. (My way of incorporating Secret Service into their experience.) I would ask questions and I would get answers. It is important in building a relationship with a guest. It became an effective tool in getting to know my guests. Vacations are a perfect example of where you can ask WHY?  WHY

WHY they chose that destination is always so interesting to me. It tells so much about them. For example, if a guest tells me she just got back from Hawaii and I respond with how exciting that had to be; I then ask her WHY she choose Hawaii.  She tells me it was her honeymoon spot. A simple question opens the door for so many more opportunities to build the relationship and deliver Secret Service. Then wedding talk comes, and it’s a whole web of information. I then record that info. I know when she got married, and where she went on her honeymoon. By recording that info into our database, it gives other service providers the opportunity to deliver Secret Service as well. It’s a great start to building a relationship and a loyal guest. It makes the guest feel very special.

I started to notice I was doing this in all parts of my life.  It wasn’t intentional –it just became my way of thinking.

One of my favorite WHY stories took place during a haircut with a new hairdresser.  It was my first visit with Brian and during a very normal conversation I asked WHY he chose this industry? He gave me an answer he was so sure of!! It was refreshing to hear for two reasons.

  1. he really knew exactly what it was about this industry that he loved, and
  2. because he reminded me WHY I love this industry so much.

Brian’s answer: “Nicole, ya know what? I love this industry because of the opportunity we are given to change a life!” It most definitely was not what I expected to hear coming from a 22 year old guy who rides a crotch rocket and has only been doing hair for a few years. I didn’t have to ask WHY after that because he just kept going.

He touched on the relationship building part of our business, and how important it was to him. He told me he built a steady clientele within his first year on the floor.

Everything he said was impressive to me. It was a reminder of WHY I loved this industry and it was a reminder of how crucial it is to build a relationship with people. He gave me a wonderful hair cut, but the reason I will continue to get my hair cut by Brian is because of his passion for what he does. I don’t mean his passion for cutting hair.  I mean his passion for changing and impacting lives. It’s his purpose.

My service ended, I started to ask myself a few questions.  WHY being one of them, big shock coming from me right?

Brian didn’t build that clientele in his first year because he gave a good haircut. It sure helped, but it wasn’t WHY his guests returned. (You can get a good haircut a lot of places.) He built that clientele because of the way he made people feel. He is passionate, and he makes each guest aware of that passion. He comes to work and works from his heart. He is compassionate and empathic toward each guest, and he does everything he can to make sure they know they are the only thing that matters to him at that moment.  When a guest leaves a service provider who provides those qualities, their outlook changes. They walk away looking good, but they also walk away with a feeling of importance. He truly cares about making a difference in people and their lives. That is what this industry is about.  It’s about changing a life, changing the way people look, changing the way people feel, and giving others the confidence to do whatever their heart desires. We all become a little robotic at times: we come to work and we do our thing.  Sometimes our “purpose” can get away from us. Asking Brian WHY got me out of that robotic state and back to my purpose.

Ask yourself WHY. Ask others WHYWHY can help you deliver an experience that keep your guests coming to you, and WHY is sure to help you get out of a rut we all get in. It is also an effective question to ask yourself when things are going well. Ask yourself WHY are things so perfect right now. Answer that question and you now know how to keep things that way, or how to get them back if things happen to go the other way.  Making the WHY game part of your everyday life is sure to get you what you want, and where you want to be.

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