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Guest: John DiJulius
Episode in a Tweet: Implement a radical customer service revolution and you’ll transform what employees and customers experience. The end result is you make price irrelevant.
Quick Background: John DiJulius started his first business, John Robert’s Spa, 23 years ago. Today, it is consistently recognized as one of the top 20 salons in America. It didn’t start out that way, though. As the company opened new salons, service began to deteriorate. Frustrated, John began studying the greatest customer service companies such as Ritz Carlton, Disney, and Nordstrom to discover their secret to embedding a service culture throughout multiple locations. In his research he stumbled upon the formula, codified it, and now spreads this radical customer service revolution message throughout the world. In today’s episode, you’ll learn the secret formula to use radical customer service to make price irrelevant.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
1. It is not your employees’ responsibility to have high customer service aptitude, it’s the company’s responsibility to give it to them.
Nobody is born with high customer service aptitude. Instead, John said, “Service aptitude comes from three places: previous life experiences, previous work experiences, and current work experiences.” You can’t control the first two items but you can and should control the third. To embed a radical customer service attitude within the company, John said, “You need two things, first, executive sponsorship, and second, every executive needs to walk the talk. They need to exemplify customer service in how they treat, speak, and talk about the customers.”
2. Your customer-facing employees should have empathy and compassion for “a day in the life” of your customers.
Usually, your customer-facing employees are at a different stage of life or different economic status than your customers. As a result, it may be hard for your staff to empathize or have compassion for your customers. But in order to deliver genuine service, John said, “The answer isn’t changing who we hire, rather, it’s to train staff in a day in the life of their customers so the staff will understand the pressures clients are under. By doing this, your staff will want to be the hero for, be present with, and be the best part of their customer’s day.”
3. Develop a simple list of “Always” and “Nevers” that relate to your service expectations.
It sounds simple (and most of the best ideas are), but John said create a list of ways that you “Always” want to handle certain things and ways that you “Never” want to handle certain things. For example, “Would you ever expect to go to a Four Seasons hotel and say, ‘Excuse me’ to someone in full uniform, ‘Can you tell me where ____ is’ and he interrupts you and says, ‘I work in housekeeping,’ and he walks away. No, you know that wouldn’t happen. So, in this example, the “never” would be, “Never point, always show them.” Take this idea and come up with 8 “Always” and 8 “Nevers” for your business and train your staff to “become one with them.”
4. If you know two or more things about anyone’s “FORD,” you will own the relationship.
We’re not talking about the car here. FORD stand for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dream. For every one of your relationships, your team should be “trained to get your client’s FORD, document it in the CRM system, and use it to build genuine relationships,” said John. This is not about stalking or being an interrogator. Rather, “When you get your employees focused on hearing the FORD, and engaging with that information in conversation, it extends the service from a commodity to making something that is price irrelevant and a company or a person I can’t live without,” said John. Strive to work in one FORD piece of information in every client interaction.
5. One of the worst practices for any company is to tell their employees to practice the golden rule, to treat customers how you want to be treated.
Let’s say you have a 25-year-old on staff named Johnny and he’s about to greet a 50-year-old key customer. If it were up to Johnny, he might greet the key customer by saying, “Hey, what’s up dude?” because that’s how Johnny and his buddies might greet each other. The better plan is to “Give Johnny 3 – 4 weeks of training on how your firm greets a customer, your list of “Always” and “Nevers,” your day in the life of your customers, etc. Do that and Johnny will be a rock star,” said John.
1. Outstanding customer service can be taught. Don’t expect your employees to come to you already knowing how to deliver great service. It’s your job to train them–especially in understanding a day in the life of your customers.
2. Create a list of “Always” and “Nevers” as it relates to your service expectations. If you take this simple idea and train your staff to incorporate them in their daily interactions, your customer service will improve immensely.
3. Know the “FORD” items for your customers. We all want to be appreciated and have other people take a genuine interest in us. Using the FORD idea enables you to do that.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.