Episode 049 : Making Customer Service a Competitive Advantage and Price Irrelevant with John DiJulius

Episode 049 : Making Customer Service a Competitive Advantage and Price Irrelevant with John DiJulius

John DiJulius is an international consultant and best selling author of 3 customer service books, his latest book; The Customer Service Revolution instantly hit number 1 on Amazon. John works with world-class companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle¢, Marriott Hotels, PwC, Cheese Cake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley-Davidson, Chick-fil-A and many more. John isn’t just talking about it, he lives it. As a very successful entrepreneur of 2 businesses, John Robert’s Spa, a chain of upscale Cleveland locations has been repeatedly named 1 of the top 20 salons in America and The DiJulius Group, a consulting firm focused on changing the world by creating a customer service revolution. John will demonstrate how we can make our customer service our single biggest competitive advantage and make price irrelevant.

Question

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • What is your view of customer service and customer experience, why is it so important? What are some everyday solutions that you believe the business owner can do to still set themselves apart?
  • Tell us a little about your book, The Customer Service Revolution: Overthrow Conventional Business, Inspire Employees, and Change the World, what inspired you to write your book and 3 key things our listeners would be able to take away from the book?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find your information online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?

 

Highlights

 

  • John DiJulius shared that his first business, he and his wife opened up a small hair salon back in 1993 and it was 900 square feet and they had no money, no employees and they had no customers and they were on a street that had over 100 hair salons up and down within a few miles and they only way that he could think of to make them competitive was to invest in how they treated people because it didn’t cost has much as extensive advertising and all the traditional means back then. They started growing so rapidly that they had to knock down a wall and expand to the next location and then a year later get the next unit next to them and then couple years later they build a much larger facility and then they open another and then another and then another. They found 5-10 years later when they had money, they had customers, they had employees that the best investment was still the customer experience and still they didn’t spend on advertising, they just invested it. Their business grew to be 1 of the top 20 salons in the United States and he started getting asked to speak all the time because of their rapid growth and so he started speaking and then that started snowballing. His first book Secret Service came out in 2003 and from that point on, he went from being a salon owner who spoke a few times to being a speaker that owned a salon and he haven’t been to involved in the salon industry ever since and then the next book, What’s The Secret cam out in 2008 and that was more base now from 2003 to 2008 he started working with these incredible companies, the weird thing is, no one bad hires him, you would think that it’s the other way around but it was only great, exceptional companies and he probably learn has much if not more from them than he was probably teaching them. Now it’s just spiraling into a full pledge customer service consultant company and that’s all they do is just work with clients on their customer experience.

 

  • John DiJulius shared that the reason he wrote his first book because when they were trying to be exceptional, one of his frustrations at customer service is all the books on customer service that he could get his hands on and all the speakers he listened to never gave him the practicality, they always say, “Treat your customers the way you want to be treated.” all those high level platitudes but they didn’t tell him how, so they don’t want to compete in prices wars, they want to compete in experience wars and that’s really important to them so their methodology is all based around making price irrelevant and making price irrelevant is base on the experience you consistently deliver to your customer, they have no idea what your competition charges. He price sensitive and he has made the mistake of driving 3 extra miles to save 50 cents on something, on the flip side, there are some people he do business with as a consumer that if you’re looking, he would say you have to use that, how much do they charge and in a lot of cases, he couldn’t tell you, he doesn’t know, the businesses, the people he is so loyal to, he doesn’t know what they charge, he would have to look at his receipt, pull up an invoice but he doesn’t care, they are so great and he likes to say, discounting is the tax you pay for being average.” They don’t want to be average. The difference between customer service and customer experience is Jim Gilmore, great author of The Experience Economy says it, “Customer service is what you do, customer experience is how you do it.” He stated that customer service no matter what business you’re in is a commodity, everyone does what you do and doubt that you’re any smarter than your top competitors, it’s now, you’ve got to use that expertise and make sure you’re making an emotional connection and knowing something about our customers and knowing what they need and so it’s all about the service aptitude, how good any company is at customer service comes down to the service aptitude of their employees and your service aptitude gets shaped, yours, mine and the newest hire gets shaped by 3 places, previous life experiences, previous work experiences and current work experiences, so most people didn’t grow up staying at 5 star resorts, flying first class and driving Mercedes Benz when they turn 16 years old, yet our first jobs and a lot of times people we hire, we expect them to give that type of experience to our customers and it’s not fair, you just don’t know what world class look like at 19, 21 or 25 because your life experiences didn’t afford it. Same thing with previous work experience, previous work experiences, most businesses are paranoid and they want their employees to screen and not let customers take advantage of them and then we get that employee and they’ve been brainwashed not to treat the customer and trust the customer, it’s not the employee’s fault so we can’t control he first 2 things, it’s about what we do with them after we hire them and you won’t find people with high service DNA, don’t expect to, you have to create the DNA, it’s not you’re employees responsibility to have high service DNA, it’s yours to give it to them, you the company, you the entrepreneur, you have to train it.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that it’s interesting that he said how you can increase on their service DNA and asked if he believes that if the person doesn’t have the right attitude, that training can bring them to the level that you want to bring them to or is it something that comes in terms of their innate abilities that comes naturally in terms of how they relate to other people?

 

John DiJulius stated that he believes that the vast majority of people out there you can change, he doesn’t believe it’s innate for the reasons he just explain, we were growing up and eating at fast foods restaurants and we didn’t have world class experiences so we don’t know what it is like to deliver and our family life, depending on what we were taught, you’re not going to find people who are taught that it’s just a few. He stated that he loves asking this one question to his audiences when he first started, “If you’re going to build a world class customer experience company, what is more important: a) the training and culture you bring your new employees into? Or b) the hiring?” In a little bit a way, it’s a trick question because the answer is both, you can’t have one without the other but he always say, if you’ve got to give 51% to one or the other, it’s training and culture. Disney did not find 50,000 employees born to serve, there is not 5,000 people walking the earth born to serve but they converted them and one of the quotes that Disney has about their new employees is they say, “We don’t put our new employees in Disney, we put Disney in our new employees.” Every one should put that quote with their company name, put your company in your people and make them proud and make them understand it.

 

  • John shared that the Customer Service Revolution is the last 20 years of working with the best companies in the world and seeing what they have in common and why they have been able to dominate their industry and not have to be sucked in on price and be the brand customers can’t live without. So the definition of a customer service revolution is a radical over throw of conventional business mentality designed to transform what employees and customers experience, the ship produces a culture that permeates into people’s personal lives at home and community which in turn provides your business with higher sales moral and brand loyalty, thus making price irrelevant. Some of the key take away in the book, it just talks about how you increase your employee service aptitude and one of the best ways that their clients do when they help them and listeners can do on their own is the first thing they do with their clients is they create a “Day in the life of a customer”, it’s a video and you don’t have to do a video, you can do a slideshow but the reason is that in most businesses the customer facing employee, your employee that’s dealing with your customer, is not the customer, whether it be a different age, they might be in their 20s dealing with 35 to 55 year old professionals, they might be account executives dealing with CEOs and they can’t relate to one another and so these day in a life of the customer scripts help your customer facing employee understand all the pressures and chaos and demands that your customer may be going through on a given day and how they get hit at home with kids and illness and significant other and financial burdens that we have and then they get to work and the customer demands and their boss and the economy and all these things and when you could really understand all the things that your customer are battling and how what you do for them impacts their success and their relief, it makes you more present when you deal with them and it really helps you to have more compassion and empathy, so scripting out a day in the life of a customer, before they even come in contact with you so everyone on your company can have more empathy and compassion for what your customers are dealing with and how you can come to the rescue. He also mention that some of the things they do is help companies create a customer service vision statement and that’s different from the mission and purpose, a customer service vision statement is the action statement you have to do every time you interact with a customer, be it 10 seconds, it’s about focusing on providing a positive experience on every interaction whether it’s face to face, click to click or ear to ear, it might be 10 seconds, it might be 10 minutes, it could be an hour but it’s about a short statement that is actionable, measureable, trainable and observable that every employee is reminded what their job is to do when they come in contact, so one of the examples of their biggest customer they have had is Starbucks, the next time you go to Starbucks anywhere, in Cleveland, Ohio, Malaysia, they all were the green apron, if you ask them to turn over the top inside of their green apron facing them, is their customer service vision statement that John and his team help them create and it’s cool because it’s not for the customer to see, it’s for each of their employees to see and be reminded of what to deliver to every customer they come in contact with. He always ask people, “What’s going to be your green apron that you can advertise to your employees that they constantly have to be reminded that your branding what your service vision is, what they have to do every time?”

 

  • John DiJulius shared how he stay motivated, he stated that he is blessed, he loves what he does and that’s very important and he has had bad days and he has had deadlines missed and flights cancelled and principals calling about his kids getting in trouble but he thinks it’s about the attitude, it’s how you look at things and he can’t believe he gets to do what he does and he thinks it’s important that we remain as leaders, passionate, the higher we get in a company, the more responsibility we get which means we can come to work with the weight of the world on our shoulders and we can wear that and try to make payroll and we just lost a big client or we lost a key employee or his family isn’t too happy with him because he hasn’t been in town lately, when he brings that with him to work, he starts to get moral issues, the moment you became a leader you have lost your right to complain and make excuses. There’s a lot of people counting on him, a few hundred employees, tens and thousands of customers that he can’t let down, so it’s his obligation bring his best version of himself otherwise he’ll just hurt all of them and when we look at it that way that we have an obligation to bring our A game and sometimes he has to be an academy award winner and most of the times he truly feels it, when he brings his A game, when he bring the passion that has for what he does around the people he do it with and for, things go really well. So he just understands that there are several things and a lot of them they have in common. The things he has to do on a daily and maybe hourly basis in his life to not allow him to get on that rollercoaster that worries him, “I got the flat tire” he can’t let that happen, we all are going to get the same amount of flat tires but some people might dwell on them and other people may say, “God, was I lucky that I got a flat tire right after I drop my kids off at school and no one is injured and I was still able to get to work within a decent time.” Instead of letting that ruin the rest of their day. It’s what he’s feeding his brain on a daily basis, listening to podcast like this, listening to great experts, listening to people really inspire him and make him think, it’s who he hangs around with and that is the greatest thing. He stated that he hopefully won’t brag about too many things but the one thing he will brag about and he will take credit for is the people he surrounds himself with, he believes if we all are going to be known and judge by the people you surround yourself with and if he is judged by that, he’s a world champ, the people he allow in his circle and spend time with, they are positive, they are great husbands and have been married for 20 to 25 years and great fathers, those are the people he want to have their quality rub off on him versus we all have that friend from high school or college who wants to stay out at the bars until closing time, he has to see him once a year, he doesn’t want that influence on him more than the annual picnic on July 4th.

 

  • John stated that he has many apps that he uses. He stated that he loves where he gets education. There used to be an app called Pulse but it was bought by LinkedIn but it all the magazines and articles and customer service one place, he could scan and see everything he wanted to know from headline news to know if anything bad or good happens to where he can click on and it’s a great story of someone who did something customer experience, it’s a one stop shop where he can look at 60 to 80 different resources in 10 minutes and then send the article to himself or send it to a client, he do that traditional way now like having 10 or 20 different places he would go to find all that stuff. He also mention that he has a cool customer service app called YouMail, it’s free and it is a great customer service app, it replaces your voicemail on your phone, so if you’re in his contact list and you call him it will pick up and say, “Hello Suzanne, John is unavailable right now but he would love to call you right back.” And it personalizes the recording for every single that calls and it just blows peoples mind and they’re like, “how did you get someone to do that?” so that’s a fun app.

 

  • John DiJulius shared that there are a lot of books that have impacted him, he mention that The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore is a great book. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, anything on Steve Jobs he just loves his business side and how his mind worked and his whole mentality was, “Don’t give the customers what they want, give them something they can’t live without.” Anything on Howard Schultz, Starbucks latest book, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, how he overcame, he is the CEO of Starbucks, anything he says just really inspires him and he really likes Biographies and Autobiographies and the great entrepreneurs of our time and their battles, what they overcame and you find out that people have a lot of things in common and no one just fell into anything and their perseverance is really exciting and motivating stories.

 

  • John shared that they have some really good things, the Chief Experience Officer is the fastest growing C Suite position in corporate America today and while that’s great and it’s really helping businesses improve their customer experience, the one thing that’s missing is education for them. At least in the United States, there is not even classes on customer service that you can take courses let alone degrees which is really sad. So as they are trying to find and hire these new Customer Experience Officers or Chief Customer Officers, the problem they have is how do they train them so John and his team roll out The Customer Experience Executive Academy and they have an online course and a physical class that people can take either one and all their methodology so they can be the Customer Experience Office for their company, so that’s the fastest growing thing that they have and he really loves it. They have people has far has Qatar, Israel, Australia and all over the world that they couldn’t have touched before that are getting this information, taking it back, using it in their company and that is really helping them to achieve their mission which is, “To change the world by creating a customer service revolution.”

 

  • John shared that listeners can find him at –

www.cxea.org

www.dijuliusgroup.com

The DiJulius Group Facebook

John DiJulius Twitter

John DiJulius LinkedIn

 

  • John shared that his 4th book came out and it’s a quote book, his favorite quote and it’s in the last chapter of his book, The Customer Service Revolution is “I want to live an extraordinary life so countless others do as well.” And that’s really important to him and that’s his personal mission statement and it’s not just a quote, it’s an obligation. He doesn’t want to live an extraordinary life so that he can have more, more houses, more cars, more vacations, he wants to live an extraordinary life so countless others do and if you think about the greats in our world, from the Nelson Mandela’s to the Walt Disney’s, Steve Jobs’, Oprah Winfrey’s, Richard Branson’s of the world and the impact that have had on our world and changing the world and the way we think, what if they would have said, “I just want to be ordinary, I’m just going to mail it in, I’m just going to be average.” How much different would our life be today and we have that obligation and we all have these seeds of potential that we have inside of us and the seeds that we don’t grow fully, we have cheated others around us, we cheated our family, we cheated our neighborhood, our communities, our employees and our customers, so when he looks at it that way, he looks at what he needs to do live an extraordinary life so that people benefit and it becomes like a burden in a good way like, “I’ve got to eat right, I’ve got to exercise because if I don’t, I’ll be lethargic, I’ll be lazy, I’ll be crabby, when I get home tonight from work today, I want to collapse on the couch instead of play catch with my son.” By looking at it from that lens, he feels responsible and guilty if he doesn’t do that because he’s cheating others that are depending on his success.

Links

 

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