John DiJulius, President of The DiJulius Group
John is THE Authority on how to provide a world-class customer experience. An international consultant and best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A and many more.
John isn’t just talking about it, he lives it, as a very successful entrepreneur of two businesses; John Robert’s Spa, a chain of upscale Cleveland locations, repeatedly named one of the top 20 salons in America and The Di-Julius Group, a consulting firm focused on changing the world by creating a customer service revolution.
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AUTOMATED EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
[00:00:00] And today we've got a really special guest John to us from the Julius group and also from John Roberts. For those of you who have don't know John haven't been to one of his conferences or her or heard him speak up one have a seminar at a conference. Amazing presenter and really one of the foremost authorities in customer service has written a couple of different parts Secret Service which I read many moons ago. What's the secret. And most recently the customer service revolution. John welcome to the program are excited to have your.
[00:00:30] Thank you Bruce. I'm excited to be here.
[00:00:32] So you know what don't we start with just a little bit of background. First up I'm I'm assuming a lot of people actually know you may have even seen you speak at various organizations and events. But for those that don't know your background tell us a little bit about how you got into this whole kind of art of customer service. Why is it so important to you.
[00:00:49] You know it was you know typical the mother of invention it was necessity. I opened my first business 25 years ago a very very small and Guy 900 square foot Salon.
[00:01:03] Now was it not a spa back then. And we didn't have money we didn't have employees we didn't have customers.
[00:01:10] And that's a good beginning for our business.
[00:01:13] Now my typical been getting out of business. And so you know we couldn't build you know the nicest salon in the area and you know we couldn't advertise you know we just didn't have the deep pockets so we we could offer a great experience. And that's what we did. And you know very unique and as a result of offering an exceptional experience in mind you we didn't want to be known as a great customer service salon experience.
[00:01:46] Number one the back in the early 90s the signs weren't very good. So I would just be in the best of a lousy group. But we wanted to be known as the best experience your wife could have today. Right. Wherever she lifts.
[00:02:03] And so that was really what we were focused on and we you know we started off doing it pretty well and you know we had a knock a wall down and get to a location next door and you know a year later knock a wall down at the location next door that opened up another location in another location. And so by the early 90s we were growing really fast and people wanted to know why. People started asking me to speak. And I was flattered and you know that never thinking this is gonna be a career. So I started speaking and I enjoyed it. And you know I would be at a big conference. I would be downstairs in the basement at a breakout room where I belong. And then the real speakers around mainstay that Michael Gerber's and Tom Peters of the world. So then I would wait in line with all of them and with all the attendees and you know I had to say I think I to do this. And they were really nice and took me seriously and then said you've got to write a book. Yeah. So the first book came out in 2002 Secret Service which you it pretty much overnight that took me from being a salon owner that spoke a little bit to be a speaker that owns salons. And now you know now that a Jewish group has a full fledged consulting firm with consultants all over the world and that's all I do and that's all we do and it's really cool.
[00:03:25] Gergely Yeah that's right. And so what do you think that took off so quickly.
[00:03:28] I mean you think there was a real dearth or need and kind of to talk about and think about customer service as a strategy as a discipline.
[00:03:37] What was your question. So again it came from. So we were struggling with our customer service. Once we started getting bigger right in the beginning 50 percent of the employees were me the works. So we are pretty good at it. Got it really didn't need to actually Akhlaghi Ganic is going to work next year as all day. But as we started growing and having multiple locations and we weren't everywhere our customer experience went backwards you know. So I started reading every book and watching every speaker on the topic. And I actually walked away very frustrated because everyone told me about the warm and fuzzy story of how the Nordstrom's clerk makes up hair.
[00:04:22] And we're out of it and that's a great story. Nolensville me how are you going to do that.
[00:04:28] And you know. Would it happen tomorrow if I got a different associate or if the manager wasn't her manager wasn't there. And so that's really why I started writing the book because I wanted to figure out you know cracked the code. So I started studying world class companies and I found a methodology a pattern that we all have in common so so I did one of the reasons why it really took off that we have a methodology it's not just saying you know treat others the way you want to be treated you know that that doesn't help TMI. Yeah.
[00:05:02] So yeah having begun that list of truisms you know it's often not helpful to that honor. And I think you're hitting on a really I think probably an important phase for a lot of the people that are listening to us which is you know you get to a certain level of success and you're able to manage it through kind of direct direct management like you were interacting with the people you're observing you can get feedback. But as you move to multiple locations as you or your staff roast or a certain size you just can't you can't have that kind of direct control of anything you need to have some kind of process some kind of system some kind of teachable trainable repeatable manageable thing in place that ensures those kind of outcomes. But when you actually started looking at the process what did you see as being kind of the key components to the methodology that you ultimately end up creating for for yourself and for the clients that you end up working with.
[00:05:52] The first thing and it's the foundation of what we teach and everything that I really think is a paradigm shift for many leaders to get their head around is where service aptitude comes from.
[00:06:05] Ok. It's not innate. We were born with it. It's not common sense. And you know me and you didn't have it when we entered our careers. You know none of us typically most of us don't grow up driving a Mercedes-Benz and we turned 16 you know stay in a five star resorts as teenagers you know get 150 dollar haircuts or flying first class. But the moment we stick our you know our first real job they expect us to get that type of an experience. And it's not fair. I mean you know in one of the worst campuses is the golden rule. I don't want you hired. My oldest son Johnny who just graduated from college. Nice kid. Great kid but if inheritance amounts of John and greed are my clients the way you'd like to be greeted that'd be a horrible mistake.
[00:06:58] This is clearly a probably text you indeed have to go get him about because his answer would be like. And that's where he's at right now. Yeah.
[00:07:12] Give him two three weeks of your training. Tom you know what your nonlegal. And he could be a rock star but I don't want Johnny to treat people the way he wants to be treated. He doesn't know what world class necessarily looks like. Yeah. Yeah. And so it doesn't change when you hire. It just means that you know service aptitude is not the employee's responsibility to the company. To them it's not.
[00:07:36] Yet and I think that's really important and it happens in many areas of the business. But when you assume when you assume they know how to do things you're probably going to end up in trouble and taking responsibility as an employer as as the as the company management is a leader to actually define those expectations and train those expectations. I think really can I I love paradigm shifts and I like this one in terms of if it is your responsibility as the owner as the leader in the side of business to define that level of service and actually train people to that. Given that you can't or people are not going to come to you with that innate sense of what customer service is what are there things that you do look for in terms of people that you are bringing into the company where you have a high degree of customer service level of demands.
[00:08:20] Are there things you look for. So number one first is is you say assume that no one has it Naila and that's probably a trainee. Most people can be taught not everyone but most. So you know you want to look for. You know the shirt digs and we actually gauge that but we can't change the attitude. The positivity. So will ask a lot of questions that really have nothing to do with like you know. You know it just gets you talking.
[00:08:46] And in these conversations that we were kind of side Darrien my favorite favorite kind of interaction with the actual did you have that teacher was really funny was you know whatever it was. Now you may be the site but you know it doesn't take long to find out if you're a victim. Always you know you know politics nepotism you know that. The other thing we do is you know we count smiles.
[00:09:12] So here you go. Yeah we turn eye contact smiles enthusiasm and not kiss you just can't and do this. The viewer has to be doing it right now. So if I'm late talkative say Bruce tell me a time and you know.
[00:09:30] It's unfair to say how he does not excited and surprised to see yeah.
[00:09:37] I wanna know it and I'm smiling and you tell me. Right. Right. You'd run Mirah. Bruce tell me about it because I've always wanted to run a marathon. If you don't show doozie they're not excited about something that you know you love to do all the training in the world isn't going to get you to be smiling you know to my client so that that is that is you know so we can and we do things that we can't game so you know the typical interview is going to ask you tell me some some drawbacks about bruised egos like that.
[00:10:09] You know I went to law and I stay too late in the office.
[00:10:15] You know sometimes I get to work before anyone there and I can't get the lights on it. You like it right. No. So I've learned this like from Disney in places that you do group interviews the first round and which is just really information sharing.
[00:10:31] But what's really cool is a group interview the typical candidate thinks he's being judged by his answer. And so he's waited till it's his turn. But he's really being judged by what he's doing when everyone else is talking exactly you peeking at your tap totally zoned out and then you light up your shirt versus the person next to you. She's smiling at what you're saying. She laughed that way you said. I want her. She's the she's engaged 100 percent of the time.
[00:11:00] So it's you know doing things that you know people don't realize they're being you know they're being tested out about it.
[00:11:06] And I think that's from a lot of cases it's I'm kind of a trek with any in general is getting around the facade or the or that prepped polished presentation that a candidate is going to give you. How do you figure out really what's going on underneath that cross. And I think this whole idea I like the group interviews are like the counting the smile really look looking for indicators that people are going to have the kind of the core the core capabilities that then you can train and you can bring them and the actual customer service experience frame that whatever that you want to bring into the business that they're going to deliver.
[00:11:38] So let's talk a little bit about how you actually then sort of do the training and about a big and performance management.
[00:11:46] How do you actually know if your people are delivering a high level of customer appearance or not. Like what is what does the data what are the indicators what's the information that you can collect to understand what's happening inside your business.
[00:12:00] Well so everyone has different K.P. eyes right and now sales and profits aren't any indicator because there's so many things that can be you know the Charmley that the things that we can. So obviously if you have customer satisfaction any kind of Chaconne Net Promoter Score referrals. Right. You know and that's one of the things I know a lot of your clients I don't want to report that says what.
[00:12:23] How likely are you to work for the practice of referral shopper.
[00:12:31] And if your average client refers you know one point to people right whatever that means. But now I can look across all my consultants and that would be the highest activity the lowest. Now I'm so sure a trade whatever non-negotiable is our name to certify that you know it and then we got to make sure that we're tracking it and things like that will tell us. And then giving that person more training that needs it is just as important as celebrating you know the key. Yeah.
[00:13:06] Let me ask about refroze that there's always an interesting one on site doesn't it says. I think it's it's huge lead generation to offer most service based companies.
[00:13:15] How do you actually get clients to give referrals. Do you have any kind of thoughts strategies or for things that you seem to work particularly well for referral strategies.
[00:13:25] Yeah so I learned 25 years ago maybe was longer but now was about 25 years. We bought our first house and no mortgage lender who kind of like fell into your lap. It wasn't some we went after you know we didn't buy. And nice guy. Right. But I would have forgotten about him and 10 15 years later whenever we were in the next house. I have asked Bruce. MARTIN OK. Give me his number. You know whatever can be. Well this guy was great because he would stay in touch every quarter with us now.
[00:13:58] And you would think he'd be sending me you know back then it was written newsletters you know that it would be like 80 more. Interest rates have dropped. It's time to refinance. He didn't do that and say it's fall time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and you know clean your gutters. And if you don't have cement here's someone I recommend. It is a first time homeowner.
[00:14:24] I didn't know at that site that that was part of the house.
[00:14:27] The branch aspect of it but it also will always send a magnet that when refrigerators you know and it was the seasonal things did it right. So holiday lights and this summer you know the six flags hours of operation. And it was really cool. So we put it up there and when it was a day off for some we let you know we have this list of you know carnivals and stuff and everything. She never asked for business. It was like paying hey had a great time you bet but everything you sense always had the highest compliment I can get as a referral of a family or friends. And so I was appreciative that he sent me something like let you know that the news letter they had nothing to do with you know you know that he get a benefit from that directly. And he also reminded me that he was out there working hard. And I was for that I showed many customers you know I had best friends that own photography studio that I ever referred like tents and they're great. Yeah like you said you know me I'm at the end they are going to get a family portrait that's out of you. Good luck with that. And we discuss that you were buying a house. I'd like oh god you guys.
[00:15:45] I got the person for out left fruit.
[00:15:49] Yeah. Would agree that was.
[00:15:51] Yeah. Well I like that too because I think it was a form of contact. It was a meaningful contact from your point of view. You knew that your owned a house you probably weren't going to be you know buying a new house right away but you had to clean the gutter and you had to you know figure out how to do the storm when I was like you know you had a serious knee. And he put the information in communication and something that was helpful to you. And I think that's a great one I'm certainly kind of mapping out your customers. What is your customers life like. What is their journey like. What else are they doing and how can I be meaningful and helpful to them. I think it's is a great strategy.
[00:16:27] So I'll give you an example that and it will relate to your clients and what we all do. So most businesses send out something you know during the holidays and and I I'll say donors like you come to Cleveland between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
[00:16:45] You come to my office. Let me tell Bruce I've got you again. And if I walk you over to this table that has you know 20 gifts on it from my heart in my heart. And you know I'm joking around and maybe brownies it's up and you know the look at it me people take it home and regifted it use it. You know if someone wants to know if my accountant doesn't send me the Brownies next year I won't realize it. So when I say is you. February or July.
[00:17:15] Now go ahead.
[00:17:17] What I always say is use like a month like February or June or July when you have no competition and send your best clients or whatever against. And so I will always send like a book but not one of mine. You'll be like you know something it personally. You'll enjoy but life is a day maker or you know you go to good health and fitness. I know you're at it but so it's not one of my books say hey you know a hundred. I'll give you a great deal better gift you sent. I got no competition because you get nothing else. Now in July you're going on vacation you may read it. But he has a long shelf life in your brain. That's really cool that he knows I have a family or you know knows that I enjoy running away or whatever it may be. So I you know it's kind of the same thing. You know it is no hidden agenda to it.
[00:18:10] Yeah. I like them a lot. So so talk to me more about what's in the new box or what else are you focused on in terms of helping companies think about the customer service strategy. And then how you implement. What are some of the other best practices that you recommend yourself.
[00:18:26] You know with service companies you know there was an article on the Harvard Business Review that you know there's no more experts right the expertise is an endangered species just because we can go online and watch a video. And in almost you know to be somewhat educated read articles whatever it was funny. I mean you know different type of business. But I was in my dentist office. He was just bragging about this amazing waterfall landscaping in his back yard. And he's showing me pictures I'm like who did it because I did it. I'm like wow this is a YouTube video. Like literally like Blake you know that's crazy and you no you know town anyway. And so you know we got to become the trusted advisers. How do we become a brand or a partner that our clients can't live without. Because we're one of two things right. Every business that's B2B is one of two things. We are a line item on AAPL now that the shot to the lowest bidder right next year we need to save and you know whatever we can you know we know we can get that cheaper somewhere else or I call the business Foxall. Every CEO has a business Foxall that if they were being attacked and seen what two or three men is room for two or three vendors with two or three vendors would quit.
[00:19:54] Now this is Foxall you don't care about the rest because he can find someone else. But he can not fathom why. And I want to be in that business Foxxhole that's a close up you know positive partner and not a line that stops so many of the things that we teach is obvious. I just did a TED talk titled meeting strangers Leavis friends. It all is about building rapport and how there's no better technique that we can work and teach our kids than how to build instant rapport with others whether they be you know acquaintance customer a worker or a total stranger. And so you know they you know we all heard Stephen Covey says you know people don't listen with the intent of understand they listen with the intent of replying. Yes very true. And so scientists study the human brain and they found the human brain. It takes a minimum of zero point six seconds to formulate a response to something you said to zero point six at a minimum. Then they studied tens of thousands of conversations. The average gap between people Taky was zero point two seconds.
[00:21:09] Now then the human brain will allow.
[00:21:14] Obviously people have their reply you know long before the other person is done talking it's up. So you know. So what we teach our clients ourselves. My guess is whenever you have a conversation someone can focus on therefore ANFO ARDE family occupation recreation injury okay after a conversation you have with someone you can tell me two or more things that the other person's for you know have a relationship you own the relationship because to each of us our forward is the most precious thing. It's our hot buttons right. You know we're runners who are you know what do we do with our free time or what we're alumni with the words or you know our kids or our most recent vacation. Right. And if you know it's hard to get off ourselves right. It's our life. It's my flat tire It's is my plane that was delayed last night. But if we could suspend their own ego ego and focus on the other person it really can't the majority of the conversation. And that's what a four technique really helps us do so outside the home as family.
[00:22:20] So this is the people in your immediate life.
[00:22:23] Yes your clients or of clients. You know you don't focus on all of them but you know a couple of them just in casual conversations. But is he married. Does he have kids. What are their ages. Where is their most recent vacation occupation. Right. What's he do. What's his title. Alanssi. Ben how family have to pay recreation to do in his free time. What's the what's he loved to do for fun and injuries. What's on his bucket list. And so you know by focusing on that you know you're not dominating you're not growing up. Tell me about your world. You really get to know people and there's great techniques for it. Like we have you know these these customer intelligent pads these four pads and so you know I have one at my desk. So here it is. And so you know now on the phone like we have it in our call centers and our pilots have them in their closet. Now I don't want any call center to be asking someone calling in to book an appointment.
[00:23:20] Therefore that would be like a stalker.
[00:23:22] She asked up Ecatepec getting very awkward very quickly but as most people know you don't have to because customers overshare all up and say listen I have to move my 3 o'clock and Wednesday because my daughter's soccer team may districts. Now there's one or two things that happen there more often than not the customer service route OK on Thursday at more. And she moves it because she's very task focused is Shrek versus catching that. And then when she checks in on Thursday where we had your dollar deal in her sacker and the Climate Response surprisingly how did she learn how to gin up. Forget next arrogance. Hold up my oldest son went off to college. He called me up as a dad.
[00:24:06] It is the greatest thing ever and I'm like you've never missed one thing about him such that was great. Previdi girl are gonna say that I'm a good friend of result but same strategy even it hurts us.
[00:24:23] So in a professional environment you know I suggest you know keyboard and the other person. And if they ask you you know answer at or whatever they want but then try to get it back and I mean that's really worth in a personal environment it's really a different meter if you want. I can't say how many times I've met you know another couple I'm talking to has husband. And you know I'm 40 you know and you know an hour could go by. And you know he's answered every day but he couldn't tell you one thing about me. Right. He could tell you what I do for a living he could say you might have kids and that just tells me something that that's right. And someone I want to invest future time in. Right. That's a complete different aspect from work.
[00:25:05] But all my clients have been able to put forward on their CRM system sales for every CRM system you can customize. So now if you find out anything you know just got back from the Bahamas or is going to the Bahamas next week. You could add in the next time you circle around you see a group whose knowledge you and your wife enjoy your 25th wedding anniversary. If it's a VIP client and we find it out we like Oh God I've always wanted to go the is where you stand Royal. OK. And there will be something waiting for you in your room. Yeah. So that's what Ford really does. It helps you see things and hear things you don't ordinarily hear.
[00:25:47] While I like that I mean some of it it's kind of that particular activation so some really like giving yourself a structure or tunes you into those things better. But I like the idea it's about listening. It's not about asking so that all you have to do is pay attention to what the customer is saying and pick up on those cues and maybe probe when something comes up you can get some details but it's not about having this question less that I'm peppering you know a customer with a camera and it's just it's being attentive to what they're already telling you.
[00:26:15] And also like you know with a lot of your clients listed you know professional services you know you can get now with LinkedIn insights everything is there.
[00:26:26] I'll say if I can get to someone's office right. You know we're graduated from their last vacation and we all the Forgy you need. Is there an access. Keeping you know so we record everything. If my assistant is having a conversation and she finds out that we can't have a call next week because you're picking your daughter up from college she's going to have that and then when I see it before I call I get Netsky be the first thing I ask you about.
[00:26:56] Yeah that's right. I think building building and sort of the systems and training the awareness to those things it is a process and it is off structure and it's repeatable and it does lead to that turning better customer experience for for your clients.
[00:27:12] Here's a great exercise that you know everything has to start at home right now. So so when we conduct leadership workshops we will give all the leaders in the room a sheet of paper with the you know the employees that report to them directly and then we say I've got to fill out a form. And your employees in the majority strongly. Ouch. You know it's like you know my sister has worked for me for four years. I can't tell you her husband's name. I mean that's horrible. Right. And so you know you know if people are really passionate about cricket so you cheated but not with their kids names either. But the other thing we forget is you know that first car we bought. OK. Like you know mine was it was in nineteen eighty two. But it was a 1971 tiny of beater right. I mean you know it shouldn't even been on the road. But I will tell you that that was my car was my parents was I wasn't borrowing it. And that car was more special to me than the fancy car and driven off the showroom in the last couple of years. Right. And so you know when one of our front line employees gets the cheapest of their time or their house or a new car it may not be a new car but they're near them. Those are things we should be celebrated and capturing in there for you know because what what is what is felt on the inside is going to be delivered on the outside.
[00:28:42] Yeah I think that's correct. Great words of advice. We're at time here this hour. And I think that's some great concept and great takeaways. I would say let's challenge everyone here to make a list of all their direct reports and what are they know about them for you to see what they see where they are and you know make a challenge. Figure out what you can add to that list because that's going to enhance their relationships.
[00:29:03] So I know you've got a conference coming up. Tell us a little bit about the conference if people want to learn more about you about the organization what's the best way to get a hold of you. Help me find out more.
[00:29:12] Ok so every shot every fall we put on the customer service revolution. It's the top customer service conference in America. It's in Cleveland. And it's October 24th and 25th whereby 17 incredible speakers that are just you know leaving experts in different areas of customer service. So if they go to the customer service revolution dot com Web site they'll find out all the information that is there and then they Julia screw dot com. The Julia screw up and it's a deal. The Julias group and you can find everything you need to know about me. And there's a lot of YouTube videos that you can share with your employees and articles a lot of a lot of free stuff there that can be good stuff that you shared with your team.
[00:30:01] Great. Thank you so much. I'll make sure that all those links are in the show notes. I'll recommend folks go check out the video there's some great stuff on Starbucks. I love the one you do about showing how Starbucks does this. Great examples. Go check those out. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time they get.