We are all into the customer service experience. Many companies and people talk about customer service, but they don’t make it their brand. John DiJulius has made his whole business life all about customer experience. John is a keynote speaker, international customer experience consultant, and the bestselling author of three books, including The Customer Service Revolution. He works with world-class companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, Chick-fil-A, and many more. John shares how he lives his brand and how he puts the customer experience into everything he does.
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Cultivating The Customer Service Experience with John DiJulius
Our guest is the one and the only John DiJulius. John is a keynote speaker, international customer experience consultant and the bestselling author of three books including The Customer Service Revolution. John works with world-class companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, Chick-fil-A and many more. John is a practitioner and he lives his brand. He proved it when he worked with John Robert’s Spa, a chain of upscale Cleveland locations repeatedly named one of the top twenty salons in America. The DiJulius Group, a customer experience consulting firm, John is also the host of the Customer Service Revolution event. John, welcome.
Thank you, Jesse. It’s great to be here.
We are all into this customer service experience and many companies and people talk about customer service but they don’t make it their brand. You’ve made your whole business life all about customer experience. I want to go back when you started with John Robert’s Spa and you built that into what it was. Can you share how you built that and how you put the customer experience into everything you did?
We opened in ‘93 and we had no staff, no customers and mostly no money. The only thing I could think of that we could afford was differentiating. The street we opened up on Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights, you could literally throw a baseball and didn’t have to have a good arm and hit a bunch of salons. What’s going to make us different? Is it that we have a couple great hairdressers or that we offer coffee when you come in? There were people that had at that time prettier places and bigger chandeliers. We got obsessed with the customer experience and taking care of people and doing things that nowadays sound silly. I’ll give you one example. It had a little bit of a hiccup in it, but many years ago we did something revolutionary. We would call you the day before your appointment to remind you of your appointment. I know that sounds silly now because everyone does it. I use this as an example now in my stories because I talk about negative cues. Negative cues are threatening language and all the crazy stuff you see in restaurants and at ballparks and stuff that could be said a different way. We would call and say, “Jesse, we’d like to remind you of your appointment at 3:00 PM tomorrow.” A lot of people got upset because reminding was insulting and telling you that you probably don’t know your schedule.
We thought we were doing something good. We changed it early on to confirm and everyone loved to confirm. Every word mattered. Confirming, “I still want that. Can I have a manicure? Can I come in earlier or whatever?” Reminding turned people off. We would send thank you cards after your first visit. If you referred someone, you have a $5 gift certificate. We’d have referral contests and that was our best thing back then. The person who referred the most in the calendar year won a day of pampering. We couldn’t believe the reaction. I was able to get donated from a travel company a cruise for two on the Royal Caribbean and people went crazy. Our number one referrer had 92 in a year. Better than that, we had many people in 80s, 60s and 70s all trying to get people in there. They did get a $5 gift certificate every time they sold it. As we grew, as we had multiple locations, as we got deeper pockets, we realized the customer experience was the best investment we could have. To this day, we don’t advertise but we invest like crazy in the customer experience and the training of our employees.Everyone loves to confirm; reminding turns people off. Every word matters. Click To Tweet
It’s all about the verbiage. At Chick-fil-A, they don’t say, “No problem,” “It’s my pleasure.” We don’t say, “Don’t worry,” you don’t want to have negative words. It starts with that, but it becomes more the human touch. I feel at a spa, the human touch is a big part of what’s happening but it’s those relationship things. Here at Fans First, everyone who buys a ticket gets a thank you call. They usually think that the credit card didn’t work, but we’re calling to thank you and that may be as common in many years as it was to call to confirm a meeting. What other things did you do that was maybe ahead of its time in the sense that companies aren’t doing right now?
You brought up about, “Certainly, my pleasure,” another negative cue. I call them nevers and always. When you deal with Chick-fil-A or a Ritz-Carlton or American Express, there are certain things they would never do or always do. My biggest pet peeve is, “No problem.” That’s the most over commonly used street slang term. “No problem,” is a big problem for two reasons. One, it’s two negative words and we don’t use any negative words. Two, if you asked me for more water and I say, “No problem,” that’s telling you that it’s not inconvenient to me. When we’re serving others, it’s not about my convenience, it’s about the customers. It’s almost like saying, “You’re lucky I only have to go over here to refill up your water. If I had to go any further, we’d be having big problems.” It’s definitely the language things and the certainly and my pleasures and the warm transfers versus the cool transfers.
The biggest thing is service aptitude training. When I talked to clients about customer service, the biggest thing I find is I’ll ask, “Jesse, if you’re going to hire me now to tickets, serve hot dogs, whatever it is, how much training are you going to give me or my son before they’re allowed to interact with your fans?” The first answer is not what I’m looking for. It might be two days, two weeks, two months. All companies are different. It’s of the 4,400 hours that you made in training someone, the critical answer is what percentage of that 400 hours, let’s say is, operational? Learning how to process a Visa, American Express, written this up versus this, accept a gift card versus cash, all of those things versus saying, “Certainly, my pleasure.” Escorting them versus pointing, service recovery, showing empathy and compassion, all those things. In typical businesses, it’s 98% operational and less than 2% and when I say less than 2%, that’s an exaggeration. Usually, it’s like, “We’re Fans First, see that sign we have? That’s us. We’ll do that.” You tell ten different people you got to be customer-centric, that is said different ways. It’s about service aptitude training and I always say, “It’s not the employee’s responsibility to have high service aptitude. It’s the companies that give it to them.”
The best thing we do is the day in the life of a customer. You know it, a day in the life of a fan. Most businesses, yours is probably a little different, the customer-facing employee is not the customer. What I mean by that is in my hair salons, we have the 40s and 50s, but the majority of our hairdressers are anywhere from 22 to low to mid-30s. In 100 hairdressers, probably a good 60 are in that range of 23 to 33. The average client guest that comes in is 38 to 55. If you’re a 22-year-old recent grad, you don’t know what it’s like to be a 45-year-old female or male. Where 24 hours is enough time in the day, 36 hours wouldn’t be enough time of the day, having kids, a newborn and stress from the job, it goes on and on. We can’t change who we hire, but we have to make sure they understand their plights. In the salon world, we teach them what it’s like to be a 45-year-old mom who gets up at 4:30 AM to get her workout in before she gets her kids breakfast made and lunches off and kids off on the school buses. She’s dealing with rush hour trying to get to work and clients screaming, upset with her boss. They’re asking her where the report is. She’s a taxi cab driver after school running from soccer to wrestling to football, whatever it may be.
Where our day in her life ends is her pulling into our parking lot. It’s your wife is pulling into our parking lot for that one-hour escape. If you’re the hostess, you’re the hairdresser, you’re the receptionist or nail tech, you saw her day in the life plan, a reality TV show. How are you going to greet her when she walks in? When you’re cutting her hair, are you going to be chatting with me next to you or the employee next to you about where we’re going after work for beers and wings? Are you going to be more present with her because how bad she needs you to be present, your professional expertise? That’s important so they understand the whole experience and why they’re paying for their experience and not ours. You don’t want to hear about, “You wouldn’t believe what happened last night with my girlfriend.”
You talked a lot about the day in the life of your customer. This is a great segue into the training because you can talk about it. I got a picture of my wife and our four-month-old and trying to get him ready, get him out the door, go to places and traffic and all that. I understand it. How do you train someone? I’m thinking about our game day staff, eighteen, twenty years old seeing 4,000 different types of people every single night. How do you get them to feel it?
We’ve helped with many videos, every one of our consulting clients. The first thing we do is create a day in the life. There’s some that are out there that are awesome. Have your audience Google or YouTube, “Chick-fil-A: Every Life Has A Story,” and make sure you have tissue paper. It’s a two-minute-and-43-second video that takes you on an emotional roller coaster. All our videos do. You also don’t have to spend $20,000, $30,000 on a video if you’re a mom and pop. Our salon can’t afford that. We have a slideshow of different women doing different roles and they’re not all negatives. Some may have gotten engaged, some may have gotten promoted to the dream job, graduated from college law school. You had a baby boy a few months ago. As your service provider, however, I am to you on the other side. If I’m consumed with me or treating me like a transaction, I’m missing the high-five moment that you are dying for me to say, “What’s going on, Jesse? Tell me something good.” I never do that. I’m not high-fiving. I’m not capturing that customer intelligence. I’m not following up with a card, congratulations call, or the next time you come in all of us come in at different points say, “How’s your little boy doing?” There’s emotional capital gain. It’s also having them role-play.
When we have new employees before we show them our version we’ll say, “The six or ten of you get up and act it out.” One person’s the guest and then the other people are the people in their lives. It could be the cop. It could be their four-month-old throwing up in their lap when they’re trying to get them off to daycare. It could be their boss communicating with them. It’s an a-ha moment of the two things that we owe our customers. One is our professional expertise. There’s a reason why you’re coming to me. You’re coming in because your business needs a pick-me-up in growth or customer experience. I got to deliver that or how fragile that is in your business if I don’t help you with that. The second thing is you need to be treated like a human being. A person with a name, a wife, a child, goals, dreams. That’s what that whole day in the life is. It helps create compassionate empathy.
We say every game is someone’s first game, but I’m picturing having actual photos of some of our fans and then telling a story and saying, “This is where they’re coming from.” I remember when my father went through a year of battling cancer and my stepmother was going to the hospital every single day to take care of him. Imagine if someone was coming into our ballpark or coming into your office or wherever it is and they came back from the hospital with a family member or spouse dealing with cancer. How would that person be treated? You might not know everyone’s story, but if you could have that empathy there’s a whole different presence that is brilliant and it needs to be simplified. From a training standpoint, you’ve got me thinking because we need to humanize whether you have 1,000 people come to your place, 4,500 that every person has their own story. You have to have that presence to be there with them and not look at it as a transaction.
I love your example and unfortunately, I have one. We have tickets to the Cleveland Indians and it’s a good time to be a Cleveland Indians fan. Me and my three boys, we love baseball and played it. It’s so much more to it. One of my teenagers has been getting in his is sheriff trouble, miscellaneous stuff at home or with the teachers. I’ve been feeling I’ve been beating him up. He’s been down in the dumps. I surprised him and gave away our tickets a long time ago, so we didn’t have it, but we went because we hadn’t gone just the two of us. Nothing to do with the game, but it’s something to make him forget about me not to be the taskmaster of, “Your room’s messy.” You know entertainment has burned anyone to give us that two-and-a-half-hour, three-hour escape of talking about baseball. Not about grades. Not about why haven’t you. I felt a better dad after. When I got home, I yelled at him again. There are not enough games in a day to make me feel like a good dad 24/7. You know why people go. Sometimes it’s because the fans, sometimes it’s to get away from someone in the hospital or to escape from that momentarily.When we're serving others, it's not about our convenience, it’s about the customer's. Click To Tweet
It’s the business of caring. If you can spend more time training people how to care for and what that looks like. Maybe people don’t know what that looks like. Maybe they haven’t experienced family or friends that have truly cared for them. Maybe it is having people say, “What was the most caring thing someone’s done for you?” Let them feel that and feel the emotion and then talk, “How do we deliver that to our customers and fans?” You got me thinking about this and one quote that I saw you said was, “What employees experience, customers will experience. The best marketing is happy, engaged employees. Your customers will never be any happier than your employees.” It’s something we implemented in 2018. Our first day of training for our game day staff, 150 employees, they thought they were coming to get a couple hours of training. Instead, our whole front office staff, our full-time staff gave them the Fans First experience. We served them dinner. We had all our promotions. We put on a show and we showed them what we believe the Fans First experience was. They had to feel it. I’m wondering with this great quote from yours, what are some things have you done with your team or other teams that you’ve worked with to make them understand what a great experience is for them first?
Everyone’s experience they’re capable of delivering is based on their life experiences. Most people didn’t grow up getting a Mercedes Benz when they turned sixteen. Flying first class regularly, staying in lodges or getting a $150 haircut. Yet, the first time we all got our jobs after we were done with school, we were expected to give that type of experience. Those types of clients, guests, patients, tenants, fans, whatever they may be called and it’s not realistic. To me, the worst customer service compass you could use is the Golden Rule, “Treat customers the way you want to be treated.” You wouldn’t want my son who graduated from college to treat the fans the way they want to be treated because he doesn’t know what world-class looks like yet. He goes through your training. He will be a rock star because you’re going to teach him. Say care. What does care mean? You got to teach them what care looks like. We say you have to show genuine hospitality. That’s a platitude. We have specifics like the five Es. You have to do the five Es every time. They take less than five seconds. The first three take one second to two to do simultaneously. It’s eye contact, enthusiastic greet, ear to ear smile, engage me, use the customer’s name and educate me.
Tell me what gluten-free is. Tell me whatever it is that I’m there. Make sure every time I deal with someone on your staff, I realize that there’s no one smarter at it than them. Instead of saying, “Go use genuine hospitality. You’ve got to make it black and white,” and so they know. To answer your specific question, when someone gets trained in the salon back in the day and we may still do this. I’m removed from the day-to-day operations. They would have to go through training for a year to eighteen months as an assistant before they started taking their own clients out. What we do is when they graduate, which is a huge milestone in their career and an exciting time. We will take them the nicest restaurant in Cleveland and it’s for exactly in order to deliver five-star, they got to experience it. We’d go to this beautiful restaurant. It’s the sweetest thing. Some of them would wear their prom dresses. They’d get there and they’d be excited about how the waiter would serve from the right and take from the left.
How he put your napkin on your lap is exactly how we wanted the hairdresser to put the cape around your neck. When you are full from dinner, with the way he described the dessert, you had to have it. You weren’t leaving without trying it. It’s the same way we want our hairdressers to describe highlights to your wife that she has to have it. We’d go six months later at the next graduated person and I’d see that the last person we took with her boyfriend there. She was teaching him how to behave and what each fork meant and all of those things. They have to experience it. “Who’s good at building rapport with others?” Everyone raises their hand and I call BS. You may know my name from seeing me often or you recognize me or even living four doors down from you. It doesn’t mean that you have built a rapport. It doesn’t mean that you have built a relationship. Here’s how we say you can prove it. Jesse, after you’ve had a conversation with someone, a stranger. Here’s how you prove to me that you have a relationship and you built a rapport with them. You have to know two or more things about his or her FORD. F stands for family. Are they married? Do they have kids? Do they live at home?
O stands for occupation. What do they do? What’s their title? How long have they been there? R stands for recreation. What would they like to do? Are they a runner? Do they like baseball? What do they do with their free time? D stands for dreams. What’s on their bucket list? FORD is the greatest tool to keep ourselves of talking about ourselves. We’re all genetically coded to say, “You wouldn’t believe what happened to my flight, my flat tire, my son,” versus, “I got to walk away with two or more things of your FORD and it’s a great thing.” We teach this. It’s in our database. After they cut your hair, there better be something in the database on your FORD. We teach this across all our clients. However, in orientation, they don’t know that we’ve collected FORD. We’ll have a venti soy latte in front of you. Maybe we’ll have something whatever you have for a four-month-old child to take home. It might be a John Robert’s bib. They’re blown away at the personalization, what FORD does and how it makes you feel. It will say, “See how cool that is when you focus on other people’s FORD and the emotional capital that you can capture.” When you do drop the ball and we certainly do. How forgiving they will be because of the relationship you built.
It’s being interested more than interesting. Most people want to be the most interesting person out there, but you need to be interested in people. A few things I want to take from that and maybe pivot into some of the companies and the clients that you’ve worked with. The graduation, have you seen it practically with other companies? I understand in the salon business it could take a long time to go through the thorough training and then the full graduation. What about something like a part-time employee that’s coming on? Have you seen companies do this type of graduation ceremony? Get it to where they feel that they’ve accomplished something and earned a position with the company?
I’m not sure I have but at the top of the head where I’ve seen it done at the masses is having their annual holiday or Oscars party awards done at a nice place. They do get to see valet parking. They do get to see what a nice sit-down meal is at The Ritz-Carlton or a place similar to that they get to see how, “See how she said, ‘Certainly?’ She didn’t say, ‘No problem.’” If you asked her if she had Diet Pepsi and she said, “Absolutely, I’d be happy to get that for you.” Making sure and you’re vetting that this place is a world-class place to deal with.
It’s recognizing people more than anything, especially young millennials. The recognition goes a long way and then the next step is recognizing them in front of their family. Many young people do want to make their parents proud. We’re putting together ideas of having a big event where we invite our whole staff and their parents and their families and acknowledge them and recognize them. It’s not necessarily money these days. It’s how you make them feel they have a purpose and that they’re making an impact. Have you seen some other companies put more of these events together?
It also goes with good times and strong great economies. It’s important to make that type of investment. Everything The DiJulius Group does in helping out clients is about making price irrelevant. Making price irrelevant means you can’t double your ticket prices tomorrow or even raise them 25% and not expect to lose existing or potential customers. What makes price irrelevant does look like is based on the experience. You consistently deliver. When I say you, I mean your brand. It can’t be dependent on, “If I get Jennifer, she’s awesome. If you happen to get that Jesse, it depends on days.” Based on the experience, your team consistently delivers. Your customer should have no idea what your competition charges. Starbucks has done that. We’re all price sensitive. I’ve driven three extra miles to save $0.50 on something, not realizing I lost in that exchange.
A lot of companies like Apple and Cirque du Soleil are different that they aren’t like everyone else. They focus on the experience and they put it there. All of our tickets are all you can eat. Every ticket we have is all you can eat including the show with the dancing players and the Banana Nanas and our breakdancing first base coach. We’re not trying to compete with everyone else at a typical baseball game. We’re playing a different game. When you can do that, that’s why we put much emphasis into this Fans First experience because that’s how we’re differentiating. If you compete on price, you’re already done.The currency for Millennials is the purpose. Click To Tweet
I’m assuming the other minor league professional baseball isn’t your competition unless you have a slew of them, which typically you don’t. I always love to say, “Who’s your competition?” Don’t tell me the one down the street. Let’s go to the hair salon or let’s go to the minor league baseball game. If your wife gets a haircut now, she doesn’t then go to our nearest competitor and compare. She doesn’t need a haircut or a salon experience for a few more weeks. That’s not our competition directly. Our competition is she then goes shopping. She then goes to meet a friend at a nice restaurant. She then goes to the dentist office. In each experience, she’s clicking her heels like Dorothy on The Wizard Of Oz saying, “I wish they greeted me as well as my salon or vice versa.”
Many people like, “We are head and shoulders above our competitors.” That’s irrelevant. I don’t experience your competitors, but I do make other phone calls. If I’m thinking about going to a ballgame tonight, it’s not another ballgame I’m comparing. I’m saying, “Do you want to go out to dinner? There’s a good show out,” or my kids are saying, “We have to go to the ballpark.” That’s who you’re competing with, whatever we can do with our discretionary time and money. We can’t get narrowly focused that it’s the people that saw the exact same service or product.
Your competition is everyone. We always say, “It’s Disney. It’s Airbnb. It’s Amazon.” How quick people get things. When we’re shipping out merchandise like Amazon, people are used to getting it in two days. We have to be in two days. We have to have a better package. Where you can win, going back to the customer experience. John, I want to do some rapid fire, have some fun here. What’s the best first impression that you’ve had from a business? One that stood out for you? You show up and you’re like, “This was a nice touch.”
It’s hotel rooms. When you get in there and there’s something personalized and they’ve done their homework. A client that brought me in to speak did their homework and there’ll be things in my room, a specific diet. They know that I’m gluten-free and it will be written. It will be something specific like that. It’s something that, “We recognize you. We know you’re here. We’re grateful,” whether it be a business or something like that.
What about the last impression? When you left an establishment and you were wowed?
There’s a five-star resort called Nemacolin that we consult within Farmington, Pennsylvania. When you drop off your car at valet, you don’t pick it up until four or five days whenever you’re departing. This is years ago when I had a suburban. The truck’s spotless. It’s like, “It hasn’t looked like this in months.” They lost it. You get in, they filled it up. When I pulled up they said, “Mr. DiJulius, would you like us to fill up your gas tank and add it to your bill?” I was like, “Yes. I don’t even know what the service charge if there’s one, but I don’t want to be going looking for gas when I leave here on Monday.” That was cool. There was a box in my front seat. The box was full of everything in my suburban. I have three rows. They cleaned up and put everything in the box. I found a CD I thought we lost. I have three boys. I had a suburban, three rows. That third row I’d never been to. I don’t want to go near. They cleaned that up. Back then I drank Canada Dry Ginger Ale. They had a cold one in my cup holder. How they knew that was they looked at my minibar in my room or what I ordered at the restaurants. The little speed bumps along the way that they might have not had something right, I’m forgetting about because I’m happy drinking the Ginger Ale, full gas tank driving home.
It’s when you leave and I can’t agree with you more. That’s why we focus so much on having the players out of the gate and the band and having free s’mores. We’ve even done this and we’ll probably do more of it. How about this? You’re leaving a ballpark late at night and you go to your car. All of a sudden it’s been completely washed. There’s a mobile carwash company that we’ve worked with and we’re looking to do more. Imagine you’re leaving that, you had a great time and your car is completely spotless when you get to your car. Those are things that we’re thinking about. It’s mapping the entire journey. That’s why I’m fascinated by talking with you. We’re going to flip the script. We’re going to have some fun. Now you are the host of the show, John. You can ask me one question.
You do so many cool things. I’m writing a book and literally as you were asking that I’m like, “I have to send in the manuscript next week, but I want to interview you for it.” My book is called The Relationship Economy. It’s everything we’re talking about with the digital disruption, everything is a commodity now. What’s your number one thing for teaching your staff how to build rapport and relationships?
To go back to simplify it, everything we do is fans first. That’s our whole decision filter. Is it fans first? The name of our company is Fans First Entertainment. Our mission is fans first, entertain always. What we do to build everything is we’re constantly asking our people, “What are those Fans First moments that we’re creating every single day?” We keep track and we have a storyboard. A lot of companies may talk about their core beliefs. We keep track of all of our stories because that shares, “Do you live that belief?” We talk about it over and over. We give speeches around the community. You talk about building rapport. It’s repeatable, sharing the stories over and over again. Every staff chat, every huddle, every meeting that we have. What are the fans first moments that we created and then recognizing people? Every week we have our staff sends an email. What was something they did fans first? What was something they noticed someone else on our staff do that’s fans first? It’s constantly in our vocabulary and in front of us and that’s all for us.
Seth Godin has a quote, “Outlove your competition.” We might not be able to outspend them. Sometimes we can’t out think them. You better work hard, but you can’t necessarily say you’re going to outwork them but outloving them. You do this. We have customer appreciation events internally. I’m not talking about where we invite our customers in and she’s in line and thank them. I’m not talking about external customer appreciation. When we have our meetings, we ask everyone to tell one customer, one client, one guest, whoever it is that they love and why. “I love Mrs. Junk. Mrs. Jones is sweet. We screwed up last week and she was apologizing to me because of how bad I’ve been.” We go around the room and everyone tells one story of a customer they love and why. What that does because typically we get in the back room and we talk about, “You wouldn’t believe this one person called up,” and then someone else says, “I had one last week.” That feels the majority of the clients we know is only 2%.Kindness is not an act. It's a lifestyle. Click To Tweet
Most people put policies on that 2% too. It brings in the purpose. We always come back down to why. I love the quote you said, “The real scoreboard is the number of lives you have enhanced.” We don’t talk about numbers. We talk about impact. Make the greatest impact on the greatest number of people. When you talk about to make it human and relationship and talk about that one fan they love, people can say, “That’s why I do this. That’s why I put the hours into because I make that impact on that one fan and it affects their whole life dramatically.” It’s simple but brilliant.
People complain about the millennials. My favorite quote with that is, “The currency for millennials is the purpose.” You got a bunch of millennials that are working for you there, crushing it. That’s because you’ve created purpose. They aren’t willing to trade hours for dollars, but you tie purpose to their role and they will make more sacrifices than our generation did.
Love your customers more than your product but love your employees more than your customers. When you show that, do it and you build it into your core, amazing things happen. It’s question time. You’re getting ready for a book, which is exciting. I believe you want better answers in business. You need to ask better questions. What are some of the best questions that you’re asking of different companies, clients and people you’re working with? What’s your curiosity? What’s helping you to help these companies? What are those big questions that get to the core of what needs to be worked on?
What’s the proof? What’s the objective? What do you want to look and feel many months from now? What’s going to prove? What is the definable proof besides sales? Sales are such a product of many things. What is going to prove that this was the best investment you ever made? We have to come up with it and we need executive sponsorship. How do you prove to me that you have executive sponsorship? You prove it by all the things you do. The annual customer service training doesn’t do it. It’s like deodorant, it wears off within time. The smell comes back. Customer service is not only daily. You visit it hourly. If you think of every world class customer service company out there, Walt Disney, Apple, Amazon, Zappos, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A. You can tell why their leader is obsessed. You can’t ever read an interview or watch a video and any topic bring back to how it affects the customer experience.
What about a book you keep coming back to from customer service to customer experiences, one of the best ones that you read and that stands out?
I have had many. I’m a big Howard Schultz, a CEO or former President of Starbucks. I love his book Onward and his first book Pour Your Heart Into It. It’s about his vision and him overcoming the battle and never going away from creating that enduring relationship with the customers in a mass market.
He came and spoke at our Rotary in Gastonia in North Carolina a couple of years ago as a surprise. Before our final two, Customer Service Revolution is a big event. You’ve been doing it for years. What makes this event different than most conferences?
It’s exclusively customer experience. You go there and it’s a baptism of world class customer service. We have eighteen of the best speakers, practitioners, world-leading authorities doing it. What we do that I don’t think anyone else can is we host it in Cleveland. The reason why we do that is that I can borrow, hire 100 employees from my other businesses that help make it an unbelievable experience. From the moment you get off the elevator, pull up in valet to where you’re seated. We have Secret Service concierge that is revolutionary that is wired. They are dressed in black. They hear that you wanted Mountain Dew and the staff at the Convention Center don’t have it. There’s going to be a Mountain Dew in front of you within fifteen minutes. It’s going to blow your mind. If you forgot reading glasses, there’s going to be reading glasses. They are stalking you, trying to blow your mind and make it such a world-class event. You know our lineup and your friends with a lot of them. While the speakers are great the number one rating is what our concierges do for the people there. They’re like what you do that no one’s ever expected that and can’t believe that they experienced it.
It’s not just listening to what people say. It’s watching what you do. That’s probably one of the most unique things about the conference. What is one thing that you’ve done to stand out in business and in life?
It’s trying to be genuine. Another quote I love is, “Kindness is not an act. It’s a lifestyle.” It’s being that way to anyone, be it a stranger, personality, or getting out there and saying, “I like your shoes. I love those glasses,” and it’s genuine. There’s always something positive that you can say to another person. It’s not with the intention of hoping to get a tip, more business, a lead, anything. It’s going out of your way to try to provide a unique, memorable moment right there in the spot. If you get on an elevator with fifteen different people now going up and down, I want to be the nicest person you met. If we speak over the phone, if we do a podcast, I want to stand out as being the nicest person that hopefully made you smile during that moment.I want to live an extraordinary life so countless others do. Click To Tweet
I always look for anybody that’s wearing yellow and I compliment them. If they’re wearing Savannah Bananas always compliment, it makes it easy. Last question here, how do you want to be remembered?
I have my own personal statement and it’s in large letters that are in my office and in my wallet and my mirror is, “I want to live an extraordinary life so countless others do.” I don’t want to live an extraordinary life so I have a bigger bank account, more cars, more houses and more vacation. If I find a way to live an extraordinary life, that’s hard work. It’s who I’m spending time with. It’s what I’m eating. It’s what I’m feeding my brain. It’s all those things. How many people that will have a ripple effect from my three boys to my 150 employees to the tens of thousands of people I come in contact with every year.
You’re definitely doing that. I didn’t share with you but your book, The Customer Service Revolution, was one of the first books I read when I got into the industry. That and Raving Fans and Customers For Life. You’ve had a dramatic ripple effect and impact on me, on our businesses and the thousands of people we’ve touched. I can’t thank you enough for sharing with me and getting to know you. I hopefully make an impact getting to know you more, but how else can people find out about what you’re doing?
Thank you, Jesse. They can go to the TheDiJuliusGroup.com and everything’s there, whatever they may need. It was an honor to be asked. You’ve had some great people, amazing people that I look up to on your podcast. I appreciate being one of those.
John, thanks so much for everything. I appreciate you.
- The Customer Service Revolution
- Customer Service Revolution
- Chick-fil-A: Every Life Has A Story
- Pour Your Heart Into It
- Raving Fans
- Customers For Life
About John DiJulius
John DiJulius is redefining customer service in corporate America today. He didn’t read the books on customer service, he wrote them: Secret Service, Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service, What’s The Secret? To Being a World Class Customer Service Organization, The Customer Service Revolution, and The Best Customer Service Quotes Ever Said. One of the most captivating and charismatic speakers today, John’s keynotes and workshops are used by world-class service companies to provide unforgettable customer service every day. In his high-energy presentations, he uses powerful visuals as he discusses the 10 commandments of customer service and explains how to improve the service aptitude of employees at all levels.
As the authority on world-class customer experience, organizations across America use his philosophies and systems for creating world-class service. He has worked with companies such as the The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Panera Bread, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PWC, National City Bank, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-a, and many more, to help them continue to raise the bar and set the standard in service that consistently exceeds customer expectations.
John is not just telling others how to do it. His strongest attributes may not only be that he has the experience of working with extremely large companies, but knows how to translate those processes to fit small business models as well. Not only is John the Owner, President and Chief Revolution Officer of The DiJulius Group, he is also the Founder, President and Owner of John Robert’s Spa; Named one of the Top 20 Salons in America with multiple locations (and over 150 employees), which he uses as living laboratories to test his findings and theories.