If you have ever wondered how there are so many brands that customers can’t live without? And if you’ve ever wondered how it’s possible to make price irrelevant? John DiJulius will show you how to do both. He is the authority on World-Class customer experience. He is an international consultant, keynote speaker, and bet-selling author of five customer service books. His newest book, The Relationship Economy – Building Stronger Customer Connections in The Digital Age (Greenleaf Books October 2019) could not be timelier in the world we are living in. John has worked with companies such as The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestlé, Marriott Hotels, PwC, Celebrity Cruises, Anytime Fitness, Progressive Insurance, Harley-Davidson, Chick-fil-A, and so many more.
John isn’t just talking about it, he lives it, as a very successful entrepreneur. He is the founder of three businesses: The DiJulius Group, an international customer service consulting firm, John Robert’s Spa, a chain of upscale salons in Northeast Ohio which has repeatedly been named one of the top 20 salons in America, and Believe in Dreams, a non profit that helps make dreams come true for deserving children.
John will demonstrate how you can make customer service your single biggest competitive advantage, become the brand customers cannot live without and make price irrelevant!
Yanique stated – I’m glad you touched on emotional connections because I personally, all the research that we’ve done for customer service in our business, we found that customers have two needs and those two needs are their emotional needs and their intellectual needs. And so, emotions speak to their heart and how you make them feel and intellectual speaks to their mind, what did they understand from that experience with you?
Yanique mentioned – in your book, I’m just going to quote one of your sentences. It says, “Chick-fil-A is the most polite chain in the restaurant business of the chain surveyed that company’s employees were most likely to say, please and thank you and to smile at customers.” And I know it’s very, very simple saying please and thank you and in Jamaica we call it, “You must have manners, because manners will take you a very far away.” Can you just share with us how is it that we’re going to get that social shift? Because I find the generation coming up now, they’re may be not as polite and as courteous as maybe our parents and our grandparents gone by.
John stated that he doesn’t think at any fault to their own, today we are relationship disadvantaged and it is trickled to all generations. But yes, millennials and Z have it the worst and there’s five reasons why we’re relationship disadvantage. We’re in the midst of the digital age which has caused a rapid decline in people skills. We have high tech, no touch experiences, 40% of employees are working for someone younger than them, they have a boss that’s younger than them and very few companies have relationship building training which is needed. It’s a critical piece today, we can’t skip this generation, the next one will be worst. And again, at no fault of their own, he truly believes the greatest skill any of us could work at every day and teach our family, our kids, our employees, ourselves is the ability to build an instant rapport with others, whether that be an acquaintance, stranger, customer, coworker, friend or someone you’ve never met in the elevator before. So, there’s the art of relationship building and there’s five keys, pieces to that and of the five, four of them can be taught and improved. Now obviously, if you can find any of these four or five living in an employee candidate, great, you’ll only move quicker. There is one though that you can’t teach. So, the art of building relationships, the first one must be authentic, people have great BS detectors today, must have insatiable curiosity that can be taught and that’s something that he has been taught for the last 30 years, must have incredible empathy, compassion and empathy and seeing it from the other person’s point of view, must love people and then finally must be a great listener. And some of these may sound obvious but they’re not obvious to the new generation and even us, people from the previous generations, we don’t do it as well as we used to because we’re all have been sucked into the device age and our people skills are eroding. So, of those five, the only one he’d say that can’t be taught, that you have to find in your interview processes is must love people. He doesn’t think you can train someone to love people, he thinks that has to be a genuine and all the training in world probably isn’t going to move the needle too much.
Yanique agreed and to add to that, with all of that trying to understand or trying to display or show someone how to exercise empathy. Then there’s a flip side of the social media part of it with the generation that we’re dealing with now and generally speaking, I think it affects everyone, even myself. So, a part of your book says, “There is social isolation due to a lack of real contact on connectedness with other people and this is strongest among younger people who use technology the most. So, people are craving human connection, but nonetheless find it easier and simpler to turn to a device than to have a normal conversation.” And I have a 13-year-old and I’ve actually taken her off of social media. She no longer has an Instagram or a Snapchat account because I find it’s too distracting and I don’t think they are emotionally intelligent to manage their conversations on this platform and this is my personal view as a parent. And so, when you have employees in an organization that they don’t get it, “Why are you asking me to put my phone down? Like, I can’t function without my phone if I’m working.” How do you get them to that point where they recognize that work is work and unless the device is being used as a tool to aid you in completing your job, it needs to be put down.
John shared that there’s some really valuable information in his book, obviously for businesses, but also, he has had his three boys read parts of it and as long as the parts of their reading aren’t coming from me and they’re from studies that they’ll believe it. Some of the things he’ll share, so we’re all in the midst of the touchscreen age and that is not a generational specific, we’ve got grandparents on social media and we’ve got five-year-old’s given an iPad and that’s kind of their babysitter to keep them occupied for the next few hours. And as a result, we have less face to face interactions and a rapid decline in social skills and they say a lack of social relationships, which we’re all suffering from today is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, it’s the same cause and effect. And a result of heavy users of digital devices of any age and he’s guilty of it too, it’s called digital dementia and they do brain scans, people who overuse digital devices and these brain scans look similar to patients who’ve sustained brain injury. Those are the things he wants his kids to read. Social isolation is not a millennial problem only, yes, why millennials say they have significantly less friends, 30% say they have no best friends, very scary things, but all generations are feeling it and the happiest people are the ones with the most meaningful relationships and they live longer. And so, we’ve got to train our employees, both personally and professionally, how as a customer they hate this, “I want you to know my name, I want you to know that I’ve been here before. I want you to know my order. I placed the same order three times a week, don’t make me tell you what credit card I want to use.” He has no loyalty to an app, you don’t build that loyalty to an app, but he does to people, it’s hard to fire people that you know, and you’ve got to teach them the benefits personally and professionally and it’s also the benefits, the companies that build the best relationships, build it internally with their employees and have less turnover.
Yanique agreed – It starts from within. So, as I was listening to a while ago a little light bulb went off in my head and I said, you know, I think one of the also serious characteristics that we’re missing is people don’t really listen and sometimes you’re having a conversation with someone. So, you’re talking to them and they’re not listening to you and they’re listening with the intention to respond, not with the intention of understanding where you’re coming from. And I guess that ties also back into understanding and showing empathy because if you’re not really listening to what the person is saying to you, paying attention to the emotion in what they’re saying, paying attention to how this terrible situation impacted them. So, you can actually respond in a way that shows that you were listening and that you actually care, then you can potentially get them even more upset.
John agreed – He stated that one of his favorite parts of the book and it’s a section about hving insatiable curiosity that you’re dying to learn about others and not only about subjects that interest you, but subjects that you’re unfamiliar with and it was very painful doing research on this book because of so many things that he was bad at and didn’t realize how bad he was until he read this. John stated that 30 years ago there was only two subjects he wanted to talk about, business and sports. And if someone couldn’t carry on a conversation about either one of those, he wanted nothing to do with them, he didn’t want to go out socially for dinner with a couple if the husband couldn’t carry on either of those which he’s embarrassed to say. Stephen Covey says, “People don’t listen with the intent of understanding, they listen to with the intent of replying.” Scientists studied the human brain and said, they found that it takes the brain a minimum of 0.6 seconds to formulate a response to something said to it. And then they studied hundreds, thousands of conversations and found the average gap between people talking was 0.2 seconds. One third the time the brain will allow, we’re responding and why? Because to your point, I have my answer ready minutes ago, I’m just waiting for the other person to come up for breath. So, what do we need to do? We need to realize that the greatest gift we can give anyone, an employee, a customer, our family when we get home is that gift of our attention. And so, he loves to ask people, “Who here is good at building rapport with a total stranger?” And most people raised their hands instantly and he said, “Well, you’ve got to prove it to me just because you spent 15 minutes, 30 minutes at a coffee shop, at a networking party, wherever talking to someone, doesn’t mean you built a rapport. You might’ve been talking about yourself for that length of time.” And our biggest obstacle is we’re all genetically coded to be preoccupied and, “It’s my flight that was delayed. It’s my son that got in trouble at school yesterday. It’s my client that’s upset with us.” And so, to resist that urge, he always say, you have to be able to tell him two or more things after any length of conversation of their Ford “F O R D,” if you could tell him two or more things of the other person’s Ford, you not only built a relationship, you own the relationship cause in each and every person, their Ford is their hot buttons. So, F stands for family, are they married? Do they have kids? How old are their kids? O stands for occupation, What do they do? How long they’ve been doing it? What’s their title? R, Recreation, What does she like to do with her time off? She does hot yoga three days a week. She’s a runner. He coaches little league. And then the D stands for Dreams, What’s on their bucket list? What’s their encore career? What’s their dream vacation? When you focus suddenly on people’s Ford, it gets you to not talk about yourself and you really, really build that emotional connection.
Yanique agreed that’s a good point because as you said, not talk about yourself from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It was book was published so many years ago, but in the book, it says, the number one thing that people love to do talk about the most is themselves. It’s a powerful book and if you really want to become a better communicator, a better listener, it’s definitely a great place to start, it’s a good foundation, it really opens up your eyes and makes you aware of maybe some of the things that you were not aware of or were taking for granted for you to just be more conscious and intentional in your interactions so that you can become a better communicator.
Yanique reiterated – If you can capitalize on how the experience goes for the customer regardless of the business type and you can cut down on time and make things more flexible and convenient, it will make price irrelevant and it will make your brand an unforgettable brand in your customers mind.
John stated that the primary currency is the emotional connection that we create with our customers, employees and vendors and when you do that, you start becoming the brand customers can’t live without and you make price irrelevant.
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Taking risks and making poor decisions will happen but what happens as a result is that you want to stick your head in the sand and say, “Whoo me” and feel sorry for yourself. And so, when you think, you have to live an extraordinary life, you can’t do that, you can’t feel sorry for yourself because there are so many people counting on you and you have to suck it up and you have to figure it out and you’re going to have to make it right. And people bought into his vision, your vision and they came to work for him and gave up opportunities elsewhere because of the vision he was telling them, and he can’t bail on them now just because it’s getting a little tough.