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The Top 9 Foolproof Ways To Create A Customer Experience Revolution

John DiJulius, a successful entrepreneur and renowned customer experience expert, does not engage in price wars. He competes in "experience wars," where the quality of customer service is so outstanding that customers disregard the costs involved.

For years, DiJulius has been a prominent figure in these experience wars. At one of his John Robert's Spas, recognized among the top 20 salons in America, a challenge arose when a competitor offering $10 haircuts opened nearby. Despite concerns from his staff about lowering prices, DiJulius advised against it. He emphasized the importance of excelling in customer experience and sticking to their standards, advising, "Make sure you are brilliant at the basics." He then displayed a sign in his salon stating, "We fix $10 haircuts."

Additionally, DiJulius founded The DiJulius Group, a consultancy firm that enhances customer experiences through specialized training and executive education. His client list includes prestigious names like Starbucks, the Ritz-Carlton, and Nordstrom. DiJulius insists that the real competition lies in customer service, pointing out, "There are a lot fewer people who don't know how to do it as well."

In an exclusive training session, DiJulius outlined the principles of a customer experience revolution, which he describes as a dramatic shift from traditional business thinking aimed at enhancing both employee and customer experiences. "This shift produces a culture that permeates people's personal lives at home and in the community, which in turn provides the business with higher sales, morale, and brand loyalty," he explained. "This is our value proposition, thus making price irrelevant."

DiJulius also highlighted a common misperception about the quality of customer service. He referenced a survey where 300 leaders believed their organizations provided superior customer service; however, only 8% of their customers concurred. "Your employees need to understand they are in the customer perception business," DiJulius emphasized. "What customers think is their reality."

Addressing the IT industry, which typically sees a 90% retention rate, DiJulius warned against complacency. He differentiated between customer loyalty and mere retention, explaining, "I deal with IT services for my company, and I don't change my phone provider, my cable company, or my IT services even though I hate some of those because of the learning curve and the fear." He advocates for a customer experience that fosters deep loyalty, making competitors irrelevant. "They brag about you. Your customer should not be able to imagine a world without you and your brand in it," DiJulius declared.

Here's how to improve your business's customer service.

1. Invest In Customer Experience

Training and hiring are crucial aspects of any business, yet the significance of culture and training surpasses them, especially in customer service which isn't inherently intuitive. "A customer experience comes down to one thing and one thing only: your average service aptitude from the CEO to the janitor to the newest employee," explained DiJulius. "Service aptitudes are a person's ability to recognize and exceed a client's expectations regardless of the circumstances." Not everyone is innately predisposed to delivering service; it is developed through life and work experiences—both past and present. "The only leaders who don't invest in customer experience are the ones who don't realize the financial impact it has," DiJulius remarked, emphasizing the economic value of skilled customer service.

2. Avoid Policies. Make Guidelines Instead.

"Policy is the worst word you can have or use with your employees," DiJulius asserted. He explained that policies restrict your employees by enforcing decisions that are "black and white with walls," thereby curtailing their creativity, empathy, and innovative capabilities. DiJulius removed policies years ago following an incident where a manager refused to issue a refund to a client who missed her appointment because her husband had died that morning. The policy had dictated a charge for no-shows, but upon learning the circumstances, DiJulius personally ensured the client was refunded. "People get afraid to go against policy," he noted. DiJulius recommends replacing the term 'policy' with 'guidelines' as policies tend to "punish 98% of your clients for what 2% might be trying to get away with… I'm okay if 2% take advantage of me or my company because of what I get back from 98% who can't believe how we handle it."

3. Love What You Do And Make It Obvious.

Generate excitement by showcasing your passion and expertise in your niche when working with clients.

4. Help Them Solve Their Problems.

Your client should always perceive you as the most knowledgeable and skilled individual in your field, as well as anyone else they interact with at your company.

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5. If You've Got Bad News, Open With It.

"Don't disguise bad news, hope it doesn't come up, or try to squeeze it in at the end," DiJulius said. "Open with it, then talk about how you can fix it."

6. Be Committed To Their Success.

Familiarize yourself with your client's three main objectives for the year 2024. "Whatever their theme or goals are, send them a book on that, an article on that, and introduce them to whoever can help them."

7. Educate, Then Sell.

Instead of merely fulfilling a customer's request, take the opportunity to educate them, even if it means not making a sale immediately. When an Apple employee realized that the iPad 2 John DiJulius was interested in buying offered more functionality than he needed, the employee recommended against the purchase. "He educated versus sold. I didn't buy it, but as a result, I've bought anything he's told me since because I trust him so much," DiJulius explained. This approach not only builds trust but also establishes a long-term relationship with the customer.

8. Develop A Customer Bill Of Rights.

Implementing a Customer Bill of Rights is one of the simplest and most effective strategies you can adopt immediately. "World-class brands have non-negotiables things you would never see an employee do," such as never pointing, instead showing; never saying no; and never doing a cold transfer when handing off a client. The Customer Bill of Rights should also encapsulate positive actions your employees are encouraged to consistently perform: Always introduce yourself, deliver at least one compliment, and remember you're on stage. Select 8-10 key items for your Customer Bill of Rights, thoroughly train your employees on these principles, and then initiate a soft launch of your new plan. This approach allows your employees to comfortably practice and perfect these behaviors.

9. Create A Day In The Life Customer Video.

Enhance your employees' empathy and compassion toward clients by producing a video that guides them through an emotional journey, illustrating the various life situations their customers may be facing. "Compassion and empathy — those are the two most powerful things your employees can have," DiJulius emphasized. Position your company as an indispensable partner to your clients. Encourage your team to recognize that every person they interact with carries an invisible sign that reads, "Make me feel important." Emulate the dedication to customer experience shown by industry giants like Disney, Zappos, and Nordstrom. By doing so, you'll spark a revolution in customer experience and earn a reputation for providing world-class customer service.

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