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Navigating the Customer Experience

Join host Yanique Grant as she takes you on a journey with global entrepreneurs and subject matter experts that can help you to navigate your customer experience. Learn what customers really want and how businesses can understand the psychology of each customer or business that they engage with. We will be looking at technology, leadership, customer service charters and strategies, training and development, complaint management, service recovery and so much more!
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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 29, 2016

Dr. Anissa Holmes is voted one of the top 25 women in Dentistry by Dental Products Report. She has effectively mastered the skill of the use of social media with a Facebook following of nearly 50,000 fans. As a Practicing Dentist, Social Media Strategist, Author, Podcaster and Speaker, Dr. Holmes shows dentists exactly how to create a profitable, thriving dental practice which has motivated, inspired team members and patients who are now raving fans. She does this by providing actionable steps to help dentists develop their business culture, their systems and their brand. Dr. Holmes is the host of the iTunes podcast, The Delivering Wow Dental Podcast and is also the author of the book Delivering WOW: How Dentists Can Build a Fascinating Brand & Achieve More While Working Less.

 

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Can you share with us how you use some of the strategies and actions to create that delivering wow experience in your practice?
  • In your book you say that there’s a myth that says “To be successful, we must be better than everyone else, we must try harder and work longer” but then further on you say it’s not about being better, it’s about being unique, can you speak a little more about that?
  • On a global level, how do feel about customer experience from the Jamaican perspective, what do you feel are some of the things that are limiting organization from really delivering that WOW experience?
  • Do you think that there is a direct correlation between poor leadership and poor customer experience in a lot of businesses?
  • 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?
  • Do you offer programmes for persons who may want to take the step a little further, who may want to connect with you and learn how to use Facebook to build their 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 your 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

  • Anissa Holmes is originally from the United States of America and grew up in New Orleans and attended dental school in Alabama. After completing dental school, she met her husband who is an oral surgeon and he grew up in Jamaica. They decided about 10 years ago to move from the USA to Jamaica, he figured that that’s where he could make the biggest difference so she sold her practice she had in Birmingham and she started again in Jamaica. She worked a few years for another dentist who had a really great reputation and about 5 years ago she started a brand new practice in Kingston, Jamaica and the premise there was that the practice would eventually be the number 1 dental practice in the country known for delivering a wow experience to its patients.
  • Anissa Holmes shared the first step of creating an amazing practice; one that people talk about, one that has a fascinating brand is first creating that vision and saying, “What do I want to be known for? At the end of the day, what am I working for? What do I want to achieve?” Her vision was to create the number 1 dental practice in the country known for delivering an amazing wow experience and that was the vision that they would be there and that was the vision before anything was put in place and from there they said “What sort of practice would we need to be? What sort of team members would we have to have? What would have to be our core values?” Before they did anything, they actually thought about what they wanted to be and when she says “we”, it really is “we”. She feels like businesses that are super successful, if you look at Zappos, Amazon, Disney - it’s all about the team and for her when she was creating her core values for her company, she involved the team and they said “What do we want to be known for?” They did things like saying they wanted to be very unique, they wanted to make an impact on the community, they wanted to build strong teams, and they wanted to be known for delivering wow. So they set those core values out and so every decision they make had to be in align with those core values, so pursue growth and learning and so having those luncheon learn session where her team is constantly training and having book clubs where they are reading books together in terms of growing business and personal development with a kindle and that was something she did for her team, she thinks it’s really important, many people create this checklist and just put it down somewhere or hang it up but they don’t live it and once you have that, you know your vision then you have to say what sort of business do we need to be, what sort of team do we have to have and then you have to start creating amazing systems and really just designing how you are going to get there.

Anissa agreed that there were team members that weren’t agreeable in her vision. She stated that it’s very interesting because she really believes now that she is in a different realm and working with business owners and dentists and a lot of them have fear. Fear that the team is not going to buy into this whole creating an amazing experience culture and so what happens is that they do nothing. What she always says is that if you are a business owner, it’s your business, it’s your vision and her team is very aware for example if they have 100 things that have to happen to be able to create amazing experiences or to have consistency in the quality of work that they do or to make sure they are seeing people on time. These 100 things have to be done and if she could do them all by herself, she would have no reason to hire someone and she can keep that money in her pocket but she made a decision that all of these things need to be done, so there are different people that need to do it and the job has to be done and this is the vision of this company and it’s okay if you don’t feel like this is the right company for you but at the end of the day this is the company, these are the values, this is what we are working for. Anissa stated that when they first decided that they are going to be known for delivering an amazing experience, some people that was working at the practice said “okay, we are willing to try” they are still there and they are happy and they are making more money than they have ever made. This year January they had the entire team write down what it is that they are going to achieve, she put down her dream to go to Europe and have gone to Europe, 4 of her team members actually got cars this year which is a huge deal for people working in small businesses in Jamaica to be able afford a car. They have had amazing things happening and it’s because she aligned with her team members, she told them from the very beginning, if you they help her grow this business, you are going to develop personally, you are going to impact your family, achieve all your personal dreams and those that bought in with her, they are definitely living their dreams and some people it wasn’t for them and that was okay and she was okay to let them go.

Even along the road she has had different people and had to increase her team, just a few months ago they were testing someone for their new Dental Assistant, they needed to add a new Dental Assistant and someone came in, she was an assistant at another practice and she says “You mean I have to give a tour?” And that’s something when they look at their reviews, people constantly mention that – customers say “I can’t believe that I am getting a tour before my procedure”, and so this person was clearly not going to fit into the vision and the culture of the practice and so she just didn’t work out.

  • Anissa Holmes stated that it’s very interesting because when you look at businesses, a lot of time they are focusing on what’s the competition doing, what’s this person doing and in Jamaica for example, her practice has a social media presence that is now over 50,000 fans and they are doing some cool things and as a result of it they see other practices that are doing similar things or posting similar things of what they are doing and she says it’s okay because they are connecting with people and growing their businesses but she is not focused on that. What she’s focused on is really always being innovative, being different and really not looking at what any one else’s doing and every year trying to strive to do something different. For example, 2 years ago they said that their vision, their focus for that year would be to create KPI’s and systems so that everything would be written down and so they created the manuals, they did that to systemize the practice and the next year; they said how can they create customer experiences , so that was their whole focus for last year and that’s when all of their team members were trained in Hand and Arm Massage and now they offer complimentary Hand and Arm Massages, so everything in terms of their brain storming with their team building was, how can we create a better experience, they created a system that at the end of an appointment they were guaranteed that a patient would give them a video testimonial and it’s just creating that system, touch points of giving them a tour, offering them a Hand and Arm Massage, giving them the headphones and the iPads, giving them a warm towel at the end, the Doctor, the Hygienist, the Front Desk saying, “How was your experience?” Guaranteeing that the person is going to say it was great, so that was their focus, just focusing on that.
  • This year their focus now that their system is in place, they have an awesome team, their doing great experiences, this year they are like “How can we be different in our community impact?” So this year they say every month they are giving to different charity, they have done small make over competitions, they have given equipments to Children’s Hospital, their dental clinic, they have done all sort of things and it’s about being unique, not worried about what anyone else is doing, just trying be very innovative, be very different. In their practice they have a guarantee that you’ll be seen within 15 minutes of your appointment time or your next exam is free but you have to have the systems in place and that was done 2 years ago, she could have not given that guarantee then but they have it now and they guarantee that you will have an amazing experience and you get a great quality of work. Just focusing on what can you do that makes people become very drawn to your business. Anissa stated that in marketing, it’s not good for her to go out and say, “I’m a Dentist and I do fillings or I’m a Dentist and we do teeth whitening” doing an advertisement like that is not very effective because Dentists are supposed to do that but when you create an advertising campaign or creating promotional pieces about how you make people feel and how you have been able to change their lives by taking away the fear and giving them an amazing experience, what happens is that people are drawn to your business and you are able to grow.

Dr. Anissa Holmes stated that hiring for the right profile, they do that and they look at DISC testing behavioral style, for example, if their Hygienist is very outgoing in terms of her behavioral style, they want someone who has the profile of being a very sensitive, very compassionate type to be her Dental Assistant and so they kind of have that balance, the person who does their training of Dental Assistants has a different style and that’s part of it. The other part is that once you start to be knowing for having a certain type of business, those sort of people are going to be attracted to your business and so they are now finding that a lot of their new hires are actually coming to them saying that they know about their business already, they have been following us on Facebook or people are talking about them in the community and they want to work in their practice and so it’s that sort of the mindset of the people and again, once they come in having that training and so most people are not trained on understating that they way you connect with people is not by necessarily talking, it’s about listening and a huge part of their training with all of their team members is understanding the importance of listening, of asking questions, so you can get to the heart of the matter.

For example, in dentistry, a lot of people may say, “I don’t want a crown” some dental offices or dentists around the world will say in their mind, ”They don’t want it because they can’t afford it” or “They don’t want it because they are afraid” but you are not asking them why they don’t want it and you just move on and you miss out on that opportunity to help them. Dr. Anissa Holmes stated that what they do in her practice they will say “Why don’t you want that crown?” and they may say, “The reason why I don’t want it is because my daughter is getting married next month and so I just don’t have any money right now”, and you can say, “Will you be ready in a few months?” and then they say “Sure” and you say “Okay, great, just write it down and when you come back for your next cleaning then we’ll go ahead and have it sorted out then” or they’ll say “I don’t want it because I don’t think I need it” and then you can say “Okay, let’s talk about why or what happens if you don’t do it. In my experience of practicing for so long this is what happens and so if you don’t fix the tooth, what’s going to happen is that you’re going to be out one day and you’re going to bit down and it’s going to break, it’s going to split, you’re going to have to take it out, it’s going to be more procedures, more cost and based on the condition, you are in a 80% chance that that’s going to happen to you, are you okay with that?” The person is going to think and say, “You’re right, I need to do it.” It’s all about training your team, letting them understand how that happens and when they see it happening over and over again, in terms of people making decisions to have a purchase or do treatment because of asking questions, they buy into it.  

  • Anissa Holmes stated that she feels that a lot of organizations and businesses locally and internationally, the challenge is that they don’t understand how valuable it is to help you to grow your business and for her having business, her dental practice is set up on systems, it’s very profitable, it can run without her and a lot of people think that for you to have success, it’s going to take 20 years of you working, 80 hours a week and that is not the formula for her that she wanted to take and for her she said, “How is it that I can create a practice that can essentially run without me?” meaning that she is there because she wants to be there not because she has to be there, she has 2 other dentist that gives her freedom at this stage in practice which is over 17 years to now start teaching other dentist and do other things as well. That’s the key for saying, “What’s going to be the way for me to get there? Is it working for 20 years or is there a smarter way?” Once you start thinking of the smarter way, everything that she does, she likes to break it down and figure out how she’s going to do it. For her, the how of how she was going to get there was looking at creating a unique business, creating something that people would be talking about and it’s because she got it, because she understood the importance of putting in an amazing customer experience and there was an objective there. Also if we do this, this is what will happen to me personally, she can have a more balanced life, better things for her family, for her team as well. A lot of people just think that a business is all about having it for 30 years and you work in it until you can’t work anymore and that’s really what business is all about and people at a higher level realize that that’s really not what business is all about and it’s about serving your customers, being able to solve their problems and also create something that would give you that balance and be able to give you that profitability to do what you want to do for your family, people just don’t know that formula so they just work too hard.
  • Anissa Holmes agreed that there is a correlation between poor leadership and poor customer experience in a lot of businesses and it boils down to leadership and sometimes you have great team members or you have a great product or service but you have no one to really lead that team and a lot of times that vision does come from the leaders. In her practice for example, it was her coming and say, “This is the vision I have for my practice” and getting people inspired to take part and they knew that it would help them to achieve their dreams as well and so she finds that businesses that have the strongest leaders are the strongest businesses so it absolutely boils down to that. Sometimes as a leader, you have to make decisions that may make you uncomfortable, for example, there may be people who are on your team and you have to be the one to says, “Listen, this is not working” or training them again or saying “I’m sorry but we need to shift you to a different position because you’re not able to really give your fullest potential in this position” and being able to shift people around in a way that they understand and not get offended and leaders have to make those uncomfortable decisions but they also have to be there to inspire people to greatness.
  • Anissa Holmes stated that staying motivated it’s really about just creating a culture where you are having fun, where you are solving peoples’ problems. She hears from her team that it’s not like going to work, it’s like you have a family and you build that culture and you see the lives that are being changed, how you’re helping people and that’s really powerful. The other thing that’s interesting is that her team, they all know their strengths and they know their weaknesses and for her, she really great at coming up with strategy and design of different implementation plans that they are going to be doing, she’s really great with helping to inspiring but a lot of the “nitty gritty” details that have to happen and she can’t do everything herself. She is not great at following up with patients every single night for phone calls but that’s something her husband does every night and that’s great but for some reason she can’t do it but it’s important and it has to be done and so one of her team members who is really great at that, she’s one of the assistants, people love her, she’s the one that actually makes all the calls, she does it the next day so by then they have the time to settle and really assess but she calls every single day and she follows up with people and she’s consistent. So they all know their strengths in terms of their behavioral styles and weaknesses so what they do has a team is that they don’t judge, just take the best of everybody and put them in the right spot that way the business can continue to thrive and that boils down to leadership and because of the culture and everybody knows it, no one gets offended, it’s about everybody giving their best so that the business can grow and at the end of the day if the business grows, everybody wins because we are able to have a more profitable business and as a result, salaries can increase and benefits can increase and everybody wins.
  • Anissa Holmes shared that the one online tool she uses everyday is Facebook, she stated that she started using Facebook in 2010 when she first started her Dental Practice in Jamaica and that’s when Facebook was getting started with their business pages and when she first started using Facebook, she said she is going to use this tool because you can share your culture and you can share your practices’ story and it’s very difficult to do that in other forms of paid advertising. You can actually build a community of people that are helping each other that are not even patients, some are patients, people are asking questions and people are answering each other questions and it’s really cool. At that time they started to get 5 new patients a month because people were engaging with them and over the years, is that their audience has grown, they’ve understood what content works, what doesn’t work, they understand how to embrace Facebook Ads and targeting and creating audiences where they can retarget people, for example that have been to their website, people who are similar in their characteristics behavior to their existing patients. Now they are getting 40 or 50 new patients every month just from Facebook marketing and she’s spending only US $500.00 a month for their paid advertising and it’s very interesting because about 2 years ago she was testing the return investment on all of her paid advertising and she actually made a decision to drop every other form of paid advertising, they had a yellow pages ad and so she was spending US$800.00 a month, she’s getting 4 new patients, just speaking in USD and is she’s charging US $200.00 , then she is breaking even. Now she said let’s shift that money over so now she’s spending $500.00 a month and getting 50 new patients and the industry standard is 12-15 a month, they are getting 50 just from Facebook. She loves when people come in from Facebook because that means that they know them already, they know their culture, they’ve been following them, they see what they’ve been doing in the community, they see how they are changing lives, they’ve seen patients video testimonials, they’ve been to their website, they know about their team and to her there is no other form of paid advertising where you can just connect with people like Facebook.
  • Anissa Holmes stated that she currently has an online course and it teaches dental practices, she has students from all over the world; she has several hundred that are in the programme. It’s an online course, the first 3 or 4 modules is teaching you about how to grow your culture and the importance of that and how you have to have that part right before you start creating ads and copy writing, create calls to action and targeting and creating ads and that’s available on her website which is www.deliveringwow.com. It’s created specifically for Dentists but the principles are uniform and where she is now that her practice has grown to the point where she can cut back a little bit and the plan now is for to work 2 ½ days and spend the other time working on training small business owners/ entrepreneurs, so the next step for her is creating an online course which will help local businesses not online entrepreneurs, local businesses where you have a wine shop for example or if you are have a training centre promoted on Facebook so that’s the next step for her.
  • Anissa Holmes stated that there are a lot of books that she reads all the time and a few books for when you’re just getting started are: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Eat That Frog by Brain Tracey, those are some great books, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh - book talking about the story of Zappos and creating an amazing customer experience. What she tells people too is that you have resources in terms of books but podcasts are really great and she use to spend her time with books and now she is also really hooked on podcasts because you are actually able to speak and hear from the authors of what’s going on in their mind and even for herself, strategies she spoke about in her book that was released earlier this year, they have already implemented additional strategies. Things are always evolving, you’re pivoting, you’re testing, you’re growing and so listening to podcasts is another way to get that fresh material as it comes out.
  • Anissa Holmes stated that she is excited about a few things, in her Dental Practice, they just added another Dentist and they are super excited about this and so are the customers. They are at a point now where there is no debt for the practice and that’s where they want it to be and they are now looking to taking the team out of Jamaica for training, getting into that international space with them. They are excited to start that next phase of just taking it to the next level in terms of being able to have other experiences and bringing additional things back to Jamaica to make the Practice even better. Personally, just growing her online business and blogging and as she creates one course, another opportunity opens for her and she is really excited about what’s going on the online space as well.
  • Anissa stated that listeners can find him on:

                                                              Twitter @deliveringwow

                                                              Facebook @delivering wow

                                                              Delivering WOW Website

  • Anissa Holmes stated that her motto, what she is known for is keep “Delivering Wow” “and it’s just two words but to her it means so much, it means always just get to one point, you say what’s next for me? How can I make a bigger impact? How can I inspire more people? How can I change more lives? And once you do that, your business is growing, you are profitable, how can you impact your family, how can you travel more, how can you achieve your dreams?

 

Links

Nov 22, 2016

Joseph Pine is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker and management advisor. Joseph has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at Ted in California and today is a Lecturer in Columbia University’s Technology Management Programme. He is not an academic, however, having worked for IBM for 13 years, Joseph specializes in helping people see the world of business differently through his many ground breaking books beginning with the award winning, Mass Customization: The New Frontier In Business Competition, including Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want and most recently, Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier. He is most popularly well known for his bestselling book, The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage which was recently name one of the 100 best business books of all time by 800-CEO-Read.

 

Questions

  • What is your Zodiac Sign?
  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • In terms of the book which says Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, can you expound on that a little?
  • If we are in the experience economy and we are on a stage, how do we find out what is our true character or is our character based on the persons we interact with?
  • What are some important considerations for an entrepreneur or an online business owner you to be successful?
  • In a government institution where they move slow, the employees seems like they don’t want to be at work, how can that be translated into a way that as a government, your citizens of the country are running to pay their taxes because the service experience is amazing and is there an economy that exist like that?
  • What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • If you were sitting across the table from another business owner and they said to you that they feel they have great products and services but they lack the constantly motivated human capital, what’s the one piece of advice would you give them to have a successful business, specifically as it relates to constantly motivated human capital?
  • 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

  • Joseph that his Zodiac Sign is a Libra if he remembers right on the cusp of Scorpio.

 

Yanique stated that one interesting fact about a Libran is that they are very free spirited and asked Joe if that’s a true characteristic of his personality and Joe disagreed and shared he believes he’s free spirited in being creative and innovative.

Joseph stated being free spirited is not a true characteristic of his personality, he is however sort of buttoned up and introvert and a free spirit is very much of extroverts, so he would not say that describes him. If you think of characteristics of a free spirit is being creative and being able to think of new things and do things differently and that part he would ascribe to. He feels like his purpose in life is to figure out what’s going on in the world of business and then to develop frame works that first describe what’s going on and then prescribe what companies can do about it. Joseph shared that his birthday is October 22.

  • Joseph stated that he was very much into computers very early in Elementary School and so he got an Applied Mathematics Degree; he joined IBM and worked there for 13 years. He started off in a very technical job and moved up into management and into a special project he did for a computer system called the AS/400, was to help run a group that helped customers bring customers in the business development process of the system and he discovered at that time that every customer was unique that they want to use the system in different ways and put together different hardware, different data, different software, just unique. He moved into strategic planning and that sent him on a discovery of how they would resolve that issue, how they could design systems for the uniqueness that he saw and that led him to the book “Future Perfect” by Stanley Davies it came out in 1987. In it he had a chapter on Mass Customization and when he read that chapter, it was like the heavens opened up and the angels sang, it explained everything that he saw going on and when IBM sent him to MIT for a year to get his Master’s Degree in Management of Technology, he decided that he was going to study that topic the whole, he was going do his thesis on mass customization and then he was going to turn his thesis into a book and that’s what he did. The book came out in 1993 and really defines that fact that we can give every customer exactly what they want but do it at a price they are willing to pay, so you have coequal imperatives of both mass and customization, the individual customized plus low cost efficient operations. He worked on that and he left IBM in late 1993 to see if he could do it on his own, 23 years later his wife is still not sure if it’s going to work out but so far so good. Early on he discovered that if you customize it good, you automatically turn it into a service and if you customize a service, you automatically turn it into an experience and if you design a service that is so appropriate for a particular person exactly the service that they need at this moment in time then you can’t help but make them go “wow” and turn it into a memorable event and that is an experience. That lead him to discover the experience of the economy, where they would have an economy based off of experiences where goods and services would no longer be enough and companies would need to do is to stages experiences for their customers, and so he took on Jim Gilemore as a partner in 1996, they started to develop ideas together and that resulted in their book The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage in 1999 and that really laid it out and that set the stage for the entire movement towards customer experience and operation towards user experience and towards experience marketing and marketing all of that is fundamentally based on the fact that they are shifting into an economy where experiences have today become a predominant economic offering. When they first wrote the book in 1999, they talked about the nascent experience economy, the coming experience economy, they came out with an updated edition a few years ago and they changed all that language saying “no it’s here, it’s now, we are in worldwide, we are in an experienced economy” that’s what consumers are looking for. Since that time, they also discovered that in a world of paid for experiences people often question what is real and what is not and increasingly they don’t want the fake from the phony, they want the real from the genuine, and so they came out with the book in 2007 called Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, the new consumer sensibility describing how companies can get customers to perceive their offerings and by extension their places in their company as authentic. In 2011, he also came out with a book called Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier, so that goes originally to his technology background, looking at how digital technology is being used in experiences and recognizing that what it is about is fusing the real and the virtual and that’s what that book’s about. Joseph also mentioned that his partner Jim Gilemore has come out with a new book called “Look” about the observational skill, it’s a great book on how you can bring different kinds of observational skills into your personal practice and into your company.

 

Yanique commented that she recently read a study done by New Voice Era that said “up to $62 Billion a year is being lost by companies collectively on a global scale because of poor service.” She stated that assuming that the service is based on the experience they have had, so it’s no longer the price or sometimes the quality of the product, they will work with you if you are willing to make certain amends but how they manage that whole experience with the customer really depends on whether or not they stay with you.

Joseph agreed and stated that it is important to recognize that each of the offerings he’s talking about is distinct economic offerings. You grow an economy based off commodities, the things you pull out of the ground or raise in the ground, animal, mineral, vegetable and then we shifted in the industrial revolution hundreds of years ago into an industrial economy where goods, physical things became the predominant economic offering and in the latter part of the 21st century, we shifted into a service economy and that’s where quality became job one, that’s where services became important and the research that Yanique points to is about services which are the intangible activities that you perform on behalf of an individual and that’s why mass customizing a good turns it into a service because you’re doing it for an individual not inventorying it, doing it on demand. Now what we are shifting into is an experience based off experiences. Experiences are in fact a distinct economic offering as distinct from services and services from goods, they use goods as a prop and services as the stage to engage each and every person and by creating a memory which is the hallmark of the experience. It’s important to differentiate that, you don’t want to talk about the service experience and they are distinct things. You can have a service; you can surround that with an experience and the term you are using “Customer Experience” it’s important to understand what that should mean. Most people use the term they mean “let’s make it things nice and easy and convenient” and all of those are good characteristics but they are service characteristics, you’ve got to go beyond nice and easy and convenient if you want to create a true distinctive experience.

 

  • Yanique stated that in terms of the book Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, she stated that she does a lot of customer service training and the why how the mind processes things and that’s based off what she hears from the participant. When you say to them, you have to pretend like you are on stage that contradicts the whole authenticity approach. They should come to work and pretend but at the same time you want them authentic, be true to who they are and be true to the quality and culture the company stands for.

 

Joseph stated that it’s a very common misconception of acting is that it is fake, that it is pretend, that’s not what real acting is about. You can have people that pretend when they are acting. The book they talk about the real fake makers and basically defines that people can perceive your offering as real – real or fake – fake but also as real – fake or fake – real and acting can be any one of those four as well, so a lot of people that are fake acting which really is pretending.

His favorite example is Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Fish Market You Tube Video he was just there leading an Experience Expedition with clients 2 months ago. Pike Place Fish Market is a fish market, it is moralizing the fish video, and the most best selling business video of all time and what they do is getting fish out of the sea and putting it on ice in an open market so they are commodity traders but how they sell that fish is with wonderful theatre, they have these different routines to engage guests, often 20 to 40 people around the fish market waiting for someone to buy because that’s when they have their signature moment, when you order a fish, they shout of the order like “7 flying to Minnesota” and all the others shout back “7 flying to Minnesota” and then they throw that salmon across the counter, 15 to 20 feet where somebody catches it and wraps it up for you and people love seeing that happen. These people understand that they are on stage, they understand that they are acting but they are very real, they go home smelling like fish, so the fish video goes through 4 different principles, they are all acting techniques. They talk about play, the notion that you are on stage, you are there to have fun and give a great experience for the audience. They talk about “be there” which is a standard acting technique that you need to be there in the moment, you need to forget about everything else and focus on the task at hand and that’s what actors have to do. The other is chose your attitude, acting is fundamentally about making choices, about choosing what parts of yourself to reveal to those in front of you, we all know we act differently in front of our boss than we do our subordinates, we know we act differently in front of our friends than we do strangers, in front of our parents then we do our children, it’s not that we are being fake or phony, it’s just choosing what part of ourselves to reveal and that’s what real-real acting is.

  • Joseph Pine stated that in general and this relates to authenticity which is you have to true to yourself is one of the 2 key standards of authenticity that create that real -fake matrix and the other is you have to be who you say you are. The character must come from within; the character that you are and that you bring that to life. Another great example of acting is the diner in Chicago called Ed Debevic’s, it’s very famous and it’s shut down for the moment. It’s a normal corner diner, it’s not a high end place, he and his partner Jim Gilemore went there once for lunch and the guy at the front who met them had a nametag that says “Smiley”. So smiley was his character, not sure if it was his real nick name or a character he subsumed but that was a guy that can be smiley and he was smiley. He met them with a big smile and he asked how many people was in their party and he picked out menus and he proceeded to walk them through the restaurant and every once in awhile he would stop and one time he stopped at a table and asked them how they were doing and they would cooled their heels behind him he interact with another customer, at one point he started to talk around the table, up the chairs, up the tables, back down the other side and they kept following him until he finally delivered them to their table right at the front of the restaurant. It’s a wonderful, engaging theatre and it is that character that he created call Smiley. Speaking of phone interactions, one of the companies that is famous for great customer service that he thinks rises to the level of an experience in Zappos in Las Vegas, where they sell shoes on line and they are famous for their call centres where people would call in. Joseph met their Chief Culture Officer, Jon Wolske and he came up from being a phone representative himself, contact centre employee and he said that what he would do as he played in a rock band when he was younger, he would take on that rock band persona, he had things around his cubicle that talks about being a rock star, whenever he gets a call, he would look at that image that says “you are a rock star” and that would be the character that he played but that was a character that was a part of himself, he wasn’t trying to be something that he’s not.

Yanique stated that she is a big fan of the movie “the Fast and the Furious” and Vin Diesel has a very jovial personality and she has been watching him offline in some of his snaps he puts up on Snapchat as well as Instagram and even on Facebook and he seems like a very relaxed, easy going and jovial person but he doesn’t play those characters in “the Fast and the Furious” he’s serious and person in the family who doesn’t smile too much. She said that is very interesting that if you get a role that epitomize your true character, it makes it that much easier and more believable for people to connect with you.  

  • Joseph shared that for online entrepreneurs, the key thing to understand is what business are you really in. So understand if you want to be in the goods/ services business or truly in the experience business and then you need to think about how do you create that experience. The number 1 thing is time, like Zappos said. Most companies with their contact centres, they measure how little time customers spend with their representatives. They want them off the phone very quickly, they think it’s costing them money, at Zappos, they don’t measure that. In fact, everyday they celebrate which customer representative got to spend the most time with a an actual, living, breathing customer and it’s usually in the hours and that doesn’t bother them a bit, they don’t think about the dollar signs clicking off about cost, they recognize that they are doing the right job for the customer and that customer is going to be one of their raving fans, they are going to tell other people about it, they are going to come back again because they gave that great experience over the phone and so that can be done online, that can be done in a small business, it’s again recognizing what is your stage, what is the theatre that you are going to put on there.
  • Joseph Pine II shared that an economy like that exists few and far between because being a government employees have so many differences than normal employees, you don’t have the profit motive that causes you to want to do a good job, you don’t have the fear of losing a job or the business if you’re not doing it well, the people you are interacting with aren’t “customers” cause they are not paying you, the government is and so all those things make it incrediblly hard for government employees to really do a great job. Every once in awhile you get what’s call a natural, you get someone who is just naturally vivacious or outgoing or having a service attitude that does want to do a great job and will turn into a great experience interacting with them but for a government entity to do that, that’s very few and far between. Joseph stated that the one that always come to mind is that he and his partner Jim gives out is “An Experience Stager of the Year Award” every year at their annual Think About event. It was be their 19th year September 21st and 22nd in New Orleans. One time they gave the award to a government entity and that was the Cerritos Public Library in Cerritos, California outside of Los Angeles. The Head Librarian Wayne Pearson, he got tired of people telling him that the internet was going to commoditize his business, people were saying “why are going to libraries in the future when you get over the internet every book that’s ever been published, every paper that has ever been written, every thought that has ever been thunk.” He wanted to create this reason for existence for libraries, so he created what he calls “World’s First Experience Library” Cerritos Public Library - Best Library Experience Video and architecturally it ‘s very distinct, it’s the first use of titanium in any architectural structure in the United States of America when it was built in 2002 and they have a basic theme, every great experience needs to have a theme it doesn’t have to be in your face like the Cerritos Public Library, doesn’t have to be fantasy like Disney, it’s simple “The Organizing Principle for the Experience” and the theme for the Cerritos Public Library is “Journey Through Time” that a visit to the library ought to be a journey through time, so they have different areas in the library that are themed after different points in time, a classic period, a modern period, an ordeca period and they have rituals based off of that like when it’s time to close the library, everybody starts to put away their books and gather up their stuff and they go down to the main lobby where this huge screen and every night at closing time they play the scene from the movie, The Sound of Music where the kids are singing, they all sing along and by time the last kid sings good bye, the library is closed and they go again another day. The town has over 3,500 of them are in the library every day. This is a government entity that understands that it’s in the experience business and that comes directly from Wayne Pearson and it’s continued on to this day.
  • Joseph shared that the one online tool that he couldn’t live without would be Google because he is constantly doing research, he is constantly trying to figure out what’s going on in the world, looking for new examples, seeing what people are doing and that always gives him new ideas which eventually lead to new frame works. Often his Google goes into Wikipedia to be able to research something in deep but he also has Google alert so anybody that’s in the praising experience economy or mass customization or authenticity business context and also chief experience officer, he’s a big promoter of the fact that companies should hire chief experience officers to lead their offerings and turn them into a true distinctive experiences. He is also on Twitter and he learns a ton just seeing what’s going on, a lot of example through that and connecting with people, he has gotten a lot of business through that.
  • Joseph shared that the biggest thing is to see the effect that they are having in the world. Sometimes it’s very direct in consulting with an organization, he helping them to create an experience plan for example. You can go and visit them when it’s fully implemented and you see the difference that you make and other cases when he’s giving a speech somewhere and you see the light bulbs go on in people’s head and they come up to you after and say “wow this really makes sense” and they talk about how they are going to make a difference in the world. One of the things they have is an Experience Economy Expert Certification Course, 4 and half day of emerging in the experience, publicly every year in August in the United States of America, privately in house around the world and they have over 200 certified experts and they see the difference they are making and sometimes they are the owner of the business so you see what they are doing differently, sometimes they are internal consultants helping the business and sometimes they are consultants to other clients and you see what a difference they are making there. On Twitter, he has people talking about what a difference his book makes, he may not be having any interaction but his books are out there, the ideas are out there and people are taking them on, he doesn’t hear of everyone that does but people are bracing the ideas and making a difference in their business which allows them to hire more people, which creates more jobs, which moves the economy on. So the fact that he knows that he is making a difference in the world is highly motivating.
  • Joseph shared some of the books and first one is “Future Perfect” by Stanley Davis it was written in 1987 and one chapter that inspire mass customization his book Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Values on the Digital Frontier was actually inspired by another chapter in Future Perfect. Another great book that had a tremendous effect on him is “The One to One Future” by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers and that book came out in 1993 and he read it and said “wow, this is talking about in marketing, what I was talking about in operations” if you could mass customize then you could also have a one to one dialogue with individual customers, what could you create. When he was done reading the book, he discovered that Don lived 2 towns over from him in Connecticut at the time. He then called him up, got together and they figured out what that would do is create a learning relationship with customers that would grow and deepen overtime and allows you to lock them in because you always knew more about them than anybody else and you see that come into fruition today with all the companies using AI today to predict what people want. Another great book is “Computers as Theatre” by Brenda Laurel and it really make the case that you need to think about computers not as a tool but as a medium for a stage. He learned a lot about theatre and dramatic structure from reading her book, it’s a great book and he had his class at Columbia University read a portion of it.
  • Joseph shared that understanding that work is theatre and so what you need to do is to come up with that play/drama that you want to create, that’s what your strategy is about, what is your drama that you want to create in the world. And then you need to direct your workers to action, give them roles to play and help them characterize those roles and give them the where it all to be able to perform them, actors rehearse, give them backstage time and then you need to create an employee experience that is as good as the experience you create for customers, so they have the where it all to perform your drama on your business stage.
  • Joseph shared that he doesn’t have people; their business they call “2 Gurus and a Marketer” Jim Gilmore and their partner Doug Parker. They had a partner meeting and came up with some things that they are excited about. One of them is that they are working with some companies to create some videos, to be able to take their ideas and bring them out there further than they can reach with their speeches and consulting and their books. They are working with a company that brings custom learning to individual people in businesses wherever they are and so they are going to work with them to create new modules that they can then help people in their jobs, frontline personnel create that great, wow experience for their customers, so over the next 6 months they are going to do that, increasing the reach to make more of a difference, helping many more people embrace The Experience Economy.
  • Joseph stated that there is a famous quote by Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

 

Links

 

Nov 15, 2016

Kay Valenzuela is an international award winner, founder of CXchange Institute, business entrepreneur and a recognize strategist of Customer Experience Design. Kay has been revolutionizing the Spanish speaking market with her own programme that focuses on customer experience, mastering the strategic competitive advantage of customer experience and she has implemented this certification in a number of Spanish speaking countries and is looking for great opportunities to launch into the English speaking market as well.

 

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • As a customer experience expert, how do you feel about customer service/ customer experience on a global level?
  • What are some every day solutions that you would recommend to a small business owner to help them improve their customer experience?
  • What are some important considerations to take into account for an entrepreneur or online business owner you believe to be successful?
  • In terms of sustaining a service culture, how do you translate that culture to be part of their DNA that it spills over into their customer experiences?
  • What are some critical qualities that a leader needs to have in order to run a business that is customer service driven?
  • 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?
  • If you were sitting across the table from another business owner and they said to you that they feel they have great products and services but they lack the constantly motivated human capital, what’s the one piece of advice would you give them to have a successful business, specifically as it relates to constantly motivated human capital?
  • 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

  • Kay Valenzuela stated that she thinks of herself as a very curious person and out of curiosity, after working with Service Quality Institute for some time and doing the interactions with the participants she had before she would always take notes on “Where did they want to go, what were the resolutions they were expecting to find?” And she started keeping track of all those questions and all the things they had on their minds and the challenges they were facing, she just wanted to find the solution for them and for herself because sometimes solutions in customer experience are not that simple, so at the end of a 4 year period, she summed it all up and started partnering with people around the world and experts in the field that started to help her out putting all the answers together and they ended up having a research on development institute and now they have the certification programme open worldwide.
  • As a Customer Experience Expert, Kay shared that with customer experience, we are facing a very interesting challenge and the message we taking across is the following, people have been trying to change people for a very long time and that hasn’t taken us very far, so what if we just start looking more inward into the organization instead of the people. That’s like a different approach to the whole customer experience issue because we keep on having these figures and we keep on having all these budgets that’s basically blowing out in the air, not knowing exactly what we are expecting from it, so now we have the opportunity to set in place a strategy that can be measured, that can be controlled and can be managed and then after we have fixed the story what we have inside then we can go ahead and talk to people.
  • As a Customer Experience Specialist, Kay shared some solutions she would give to a small business owner and it’s that the first thing we need to figure out is where we are and where do we want to go and then after we have that clear answer then maybe we can set up in place a strategy that we can follow, a strategy that we can put into a plan and make sure we take into account everything that is really important for accomplishing this strategy and the first thing would be is “Knowing the kind of service you want to deliver, how do you want to make your customers feel?” That would be the first question that you would like to answer very clearly, clearly enough so that it can also be answered and understood by all the people in your organization. Number (2) would be listen to your customers and your employees, listening is a basic must to figure out what is the strategy that you have to put in place, it doesn’t work anymore when you go from the organizational perspective, you have to listen to your customers and make sure that you are following the right path complying with three major aspects that customers have today and that is: (1) what is the level of effort they need to put in placein order to get what they want. (2) How do they feel while doing that effort and what is their success rate achieving what they want to achieve in your organization. (3) Is you have to define the journey; you have to be in touch of what happens with you or with your organization and your customers at every touch point. Make sure you track their emotions, make sure you really understand what it is they are trying to achieve at each point of contact and you have to train your people to make sure you deliver the experience you discern from them.

Yanique commented that this may be a whole lot for a small business owner to take all in – she asked how do you move the small business owner from the mindset of training being an expense and rather an investment.

Kay shared in getting business owners to understand that training is not an expense but more of an investment and is directly linked to their bottom line. Kay stated that from her point of view, what happens before is that they are absolutely right, they have been training people but on the wrong issues so they don’t see the outcome of that investment and that’s why everybody thinks it’s an expense but when you figure out that it’s a perspective issue everyone knows and does what they need to do in regardless of what they know, not only what they are trained on. So every time you hire somebody, that person comes with an experience and they will put that into place at your organization, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re a large or a small organization, you will face the same challenges if you don’t get that communication aligned. So what training does is align the vision and align the strategy you want to put in place. If you want to have a bakery and you have to hire chefs, if you don’t tell the chefs the recipe you want to deliver, then it’s impossible for them to figure out on their own, so training would be the first step but it definitely has to be in place within the strategy to deliver great service, it will not happen out of the loop. It’s impossible to have different kind of people with different experiences, ages and different generations to think alike and to deliver a consistent message if they are not trained on it.

  • Kay Valenzuela shared some of the considerations that an online entrepreneur should take into account is that the world is digital and the digital part of the strategy has to be in place whether you have a physical space or not, you have to take into consideration what is the journey your customers are going to follow and the trends are they will go to your webpage, they will go to your social media channels, they will probably get to know you so much better than you’ll ever get to know them by the time they reach you for the first time, in fact statistics say that 8% of the purchase decision has been made online before the customer reaches anyone for the first time. It’s about understating who is the person you are selling to, who is your customer, you have to have a profound understanding of the purpose of your business in their lives and what is it they are trying to achieve when they get in contact with you be it at a physical space or a digital space. You have to make sure you are managing the whole customer journey within the customer sales cycle and make sure that you are very fast at telling them what it is exactly that is so unique about you that they want to stay on your page and they really understand what it is that they are going to achieve by doing business with you. They say you have 6 to 8 seconds to catch the attention of anyone online, so with so much noise out there and so much competition worldwide and you have to come with a clear message across right off the bat when they go to your web page.

Kay Valenzuela stated that more important is what is different about you? Why are you unique? Why do you deserve their time and most likely their money along the way?

Kay also stated that value also comes from perspective, that’s why it’s so important to be able to draw your customer persona and make sure you have a profound understanding because if you don’t know who you’re selling to, it is very difficult that you are going to create that value right off the bat within 6 to 8 seconds, so you have to know who is your target audience, what is it that makes them feel comfortable with you. There are only 2 ways to stay in business today, it’s either you look like your customers or you only do business with the people that look like you, so you really have to define the personality of your business and you really have to define who is your target audience, not everybody that buys from you is a real customer.

  • Kay stated that from her point of view, it has to do with the owner of the business, it is that primary leader that already has a vision and a way to inspire in such a dramatic way that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner. It will be sustainable if the leaders that manage it have a sustained vision and a sustained attitude towards their business. They are role models and the leadership line has to be in touch with that, they not only being listened to but also being watched every second of the day, so sometimes it’s very difficult to have a great experience culture if you have a leader that would say one thing when he’s in front of the customers and probably something else when the customer moves away, so the culture begins with the leadership and they have to have a sustained message that comes across really clear to what it is that they want to be for their customers and it will follow along. She stated that she has a lot of noise thinking that culture is something that you can create, culture is something that you already have depending on your behavior, so if you have an inconsistent message, you will have an unsustainable culture, if you have a clear message, you will have a sustained culture, whatever it is, whether it be of quality or not much of a quality. Whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re saying in a consistent way, it’s what becomes your culture.
  • Kay Valenzuela shared some leadership qualities a leader must have - the whole experience must be like a story, so they need to have a clear story, there’s a story that invites people to be either apart or move away from what ever you mean as an organization, so when leaders have a clear story and that story is compelling enough, it will definitely help them out not only to sustained the culture but to also have sustained message for their customers. They have to have a clear story, it’s like their identity seal and they have to find a way to create along the touch point, how are they going to tell that story on and on and on again with the same level of engagement. People say that initially, you need more engaged frontline employees and it has been her experience that what we need are more inspiring leaders.

Yanique stated that in a country, the leaders of a country are the one that inspires the citizens and that’s why the countries who their GDP’s is better and their ease of doing business are better because the leaders in the country understand, they put themselves in the customers’ shoes which are the citizens and they really understand the importance of transcending that message in a way that is tangible and you feel that it’s easy to do business.

Kay stated that when you think of other leaders that are not organizational driven and you say what is it that makes them different? How come you have such a few individuals along history to have had the power to transform the ages and the way society runs and it’s because they have something to say and they feel it’s important to them and it rubs on and she feels passionate when she thinks about this. You think about what is it that they do different? Why do you have organizations that are so successful? Why do you have departments within a failing organization that is successful? So it always comes back down to the message the leader is taking across, how much does he believe in his own dream? What does it mean to be apart of that organization? What does it mean to achieve a certain goal because it makes us better, because it inspires us? And then people follow along and it’s not business dreaming, it’s leadership dreaming, it’s the way they communicate.

  • Kay Valenzuela shared how she stays motivated everyday; she stated that she is trying to follow a very clear line. It’s has been her personal story, when she started working with customer service, she also had an entrepreneurial ambition towards training, towards what customer service meant and the minute she started getting in touch with people and feeling their concerns and all the things they have to face and the same time the big gap they had trying to find some balance into who they were when they are not working and who they were when they are working and it created a whole lot of noise. When she was able to understand customer experience in a different way, in a way that it touched her as a person and understanding how making a great impact in somebody’s life also meant that she was writing a chapter of her own story then it made a whole lot of difference and gives her so much because she sees customer experience now as her own developing story every day. She wants a great story to be told about her day, she wants to be a part of amazing stories, she wants to be a part of stories that will transcend her own leaving time and space and it can only be done through interactions we have with people, it’s the stories that we create together that makes us relevant and that sense of relevance is something that everybody wants and she found it through customer experience and the interactions with people.
  • Kay stated that the one online tool she uses everyday is Whatsapp, it’s her primary line of connection to the rest of the world now especially when she is traveling.

Whatsapp is an instant messaging app that you can connect with others through your telephone number and you can send them instant messages, you can send them files, you can send them voice notes, you can send them pictures and it’s really a great resource as a business owner.

  • Kay stated that the books that have had the biggest impact and the first one that comes to her mind is “What Got You Here Won’t Take You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful” by Marshall Goldsmith. The ways that he makes you work through the latter of life thinking how did you get to this place? And do you think you have enough to keep on the journey? And he actual makes you reflect a lot on what are the possibilities in front of you and you are able to make those choices for the better. She also mentioned that there is a book in Spanish from a Spanish writer and beautiful speaker, the book is called “Transformation” by Mario Pooch and it talks about your ability to transform at any moment in time of your life, trying to achieve happiness, whatever that means to you and how you can reinvent yourself everyday to become better, to be better for others, to leave a legacy on society and creating a great story for yourself, one that will be worth not only leaving but also talking about it.
  • Kay stated that she would ask what motivates them because if their employees are not motivated then there’s got to be something wrong with the message they are listening to. She would try to figure out what motivates that leader; does he feel that he has the same kind of connection with his business to where he started? Ask him about how he has met his expectations? Ask him how does he feel? Because if they are enthusiastic and they are really connected it simple shows and it rubs on.

Kay stated that when it comes down to leadership, embracing the possibility of being vulnerable and being transparent, it takes so much weight from the leaders’ back because sometimes they feel because they are in a leadership position, they need to have all the answers, they need to have all the strategies and they need to know everything that has to be put in place and that is actually not true. When you think of the characteristics of combining your leadership position also with the capability that your team has to flow in with you and increase your ideas, make them richer, make them profound, you will always get so much more than when you put all that weight on your back thinking that you have to have every answer, when you think about your teams, they’ll be more than happy to share into those ideas they have with you because if you really think about it, they are the ones that knows more about your business than you can because they are the ones facing the troubles and challenges every day, sometimes we are too way back or upstairs and we forget to have those interactions with the customers. Sharing those ideas and collaborative style of leadership will always give you a wider perspective of what are the right steps to take and how do you manage better, how do you lead better and how you interact with your customers better.

  • Kay stated that the one thing that she is working on right now that she is really excited about is CX Mastermind, that is a certification, it’s taken 4 years to put all the programmes together, it’s 5 different programmes, it’s an interaction certification and they are really enthusiastic. They are already down to 6 different countries and right now she is in Mexico in a great alliance with the University of Technológico, Monterey. She is very enthusiastic about the impact that the programme has made on the participants and the fact that it’s based on Science more than philosophical or business orientation, it’s taking the conversation to a whole different level. The first day they spent talking about how much do you know yourself? And people think that they are talking about how much do you know about what you like or what you don’t like? And what they are referring to is do you know how you are biologically built? There are so many answers within our brain, finding the answer to the question. Why do people do what they do? They have found that answer and they have been able to put it in a very simple communication line that people can relate to, understand and you can see in their faces when they see those “blind flashes of the obvious” just lighting up in their faces like “oh, that’s why this didn’t work” “oh, that’s why my employees didn’t listen to me” or “that’s why I couldn’t find the solution.” And it all comes down to, we all have been trying to change something that is dynamically changing on its self and we’ve stayed with a fixed pattern of doing business and that is the one thing that needs to be relocated or redesigned. It not the people, you can’t change people no matter how many hours of training you put people through, you just don’t have the power to change people, the only thing you can do is either inspire them or you can model for them, they will decide what they want.
  • Kay stated that she has a few quotes and one of her favorite is “The only thing that your competition cannot imitate is how your customers feel when they do business with you.” The other one which is more inspirational is “It’s never too late to have a new dream and work to follow it through.”

Links

 

 

Nov 8, 2016

Robert Ilijason is an IT Consultant specializing in databases and business intelligence, mainly working with automating processes and data flows. He has worked with customers such as Ericsson, TeliaSonera and mainly IKEA. He is also a writer. Since a few months ago, he is also a retailer and he’s opened an unmanned grocery store in the small village of Viken and now expanding in Sweden. How Robert came across our path was, in doing some research for our podcast interviews, we bucked upon this article and these videos that spoke about this gentleman in Sweden who created an automated store where there were no actual employees and all you needed was your smart phone app to basically navigate your entire experience.

 

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Can you share with us a little about the problem that you were experiencing why you created this app?
  • How would you rate customer experience in Sweden, do you find it’s different from other places in the world?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • If another business owner came over to you and said they are looking to do something similar to what you’re doing in your business, creating an app, but are looking more to have an app to complement their existing store with employees, what is some advice you would give them in terms of developing something that would be customer oriented?
  • 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

  • Robert Ilijason stated that he has always been a tech person for all his life; he started out with computers when he was 10 years old. He started to work with it professionally when he was 20 years old and now he is 40 years old and has been with it for 20 years. He has had a lot of different titles, he has been a Web Developer, a Database Administrator, a BI Consultant, which is his current title, but what he’s been doing all these years is solving problems using technology. People go to him with a problem and he uses the correct technology to solve the problem that they have.
  • As an avid problem solver - Robert shared that one day he had his son and he was home alone with him for the first time, he was about 6 months old back then. It was late at night, he was supposed to feed him baby food, his girlfriend had left him a note of what he was supposed to do and he managed to drop the last jar of baby food and it was too late for the stores in Viken which is a small city with about 4000 inhabitants. The stores were closed and he kind of panicked as it was his first time and he didn’t know what to do so he took his son, put him in the car and they drove to the closest city which was Helsingborg and that was a very bad experience because his son (Max) was screaming because he was both hungry and afraid and wondering what was happening and Robert was sweating all over because of the panic he had. During that trip he decided that he doesn’t want to live in a place where he can’t buy stuff all the time but his girlfriend told him that they need to stay in Viken, so he decided that if he can’t move to the store, he has to move the store to him. In Sweden it is very expensive to have personnel and in most countries, so having a 24/7 store in Viken was out of the question, at least if you have your ordinary store. Robert started thinking, what if they just remove the personnel and it proved to be quite simple because the people working in the cash register can be replaced by the customer, it’s not totally without employees because someone needs to fill up the goods and remove the old goods and clean out the store but you don’t need to have someone there all the time. You download the app, you can register online and it takes 15 seconds. You can use the app to enter the store, walk around, you scan what you take and when you’re done, you press the button and after a few weeks you get the invoice.

It is a way for him to count the transaction cost because he can add credit cards or different kinds of e-payments they have in Sweden but that cost him a few Swedish quarters which is about 20 or 30 cents per transaction and by bulking up all the purchases the customer does throughout the month, he can count the transaction cost quite a lot. The app was launched in mid January of 2016.

Robert stated that most people in Viken are happy that it exists. The biggest problems he has had is not with technology but with his lack of knowledge within retailing, he doesn’t understand that he needs parking spaces and he didn’t have the carts to put goods in, there were a lot of minor things that he missed and the goods on the shelves were the wrong kind but now that it’s turning around by fixing all the problems has they come along and now it’s looking well and he’s trying to expand into more villages in Sweden.

  • Robert stated that customer service is pretty well and he mostly have that experience in many countries in Europe and they are well in the customer experience, in the northern part more so, they are calm people and try to help everyone, it’s a very helpful mentality all over so it’s pretty good. That’s why companies such as IKEA has had such a success all over the world, they figured things out and tried to make things easier for their customers even if it’s their bottom line sometimes.

Robert stated that while working with IKEA, he can talk about business intelligence which is not customer service but basically collecting everything that’s happening in the stores. From the stores, from the suppliers, from the trains, boats, trucks to basically optimize the flow of goods to lower the prices to make it more available and cheaper for people, to maintain a good quality while lowering the price for customers. The data is used to provide a better experience. Most companies are using that data, if you are ever asked by a company if you are happy with an experience, you sometimes press a button or you’re answering a survey online, that’s always collected and he recommends that people do it because even if people don’t look at you’re specific answer, they look at it in an aggregate and they will identify problem points and they will be able to fix them if you help them out. If you’re not happy and don’t tell anyone, the problem won’t be fixed and that he sees in his own store because some people are very active in getting back to him and letting him know that “hey, you should really have this product or you should not sell this product and this a problem for whatever reason”, they can help him out to optimize what he has on his shelves. He has the statistics from the sales but they can also tell him “I didn’t buy cheese today because the cheese I want wasn’t there”, he would optimize it in the app so it’s very simple, you can press the button and you can either type or speak to send him information of what problems they’ve had. Robert stated that the app has everything; he tries to push everything in there so it’s easy for them and for him. 

If customers have a problem in the store like purchasing something and it spoils after a day and they want to return it, do they communicate that in the app? Robert stated there is a small box in the store where you put stuff that are bad for whatever reason or you just want to return it and it informs him of that in the app. What is the response time for getting back to the customer? Robert stated that there is a call centre so it depends on when, if you do it in the middle of the night, it will take a few hours but during working hours, it’s almost immediate response but they have very few customers so it’s easy to have a high service.

 

  • Robert shared that he tries to look at the possibilities and try to be around positive people, he gets support from his family and other entrepreneurs in the area and by talking altogether they can keep each other’s spirit high so when someone is down they can always help them out to make sure they see the possibilities because it is hard to start something new and you don’t know if you’ll succeed and the costs are sometimes much higher than the money coming in. If you just prevail, you’ll most likely succeed.
  • Robert shared that the most important advice is to start on paper and to talk to someone who actually understands user interfaces because one of the biggest challenges that he has seen when he downloads other apps is that they are very cumbersome to use, it’s confusing, they don’t always follow normal practice that most apps use and especially for bigger companies, they execute poorly. Start on paper and talk to someone that understands how the flow in the app works and do all this before you even talk to a technician. Most technicians, they think in a special way and for them things are obvious but not always obvious for the customer and an example is Apple’s Ipad, the first Ipad wasn’t better than the competition, it was worse in many regards but they managed to tell people instead of saying they have 5 gigabits, they could store 5,000 or 1,000 songs and that’s a huge difference because not everyone understands what is a gigabits it. For a technician a gigabit is obvious but for a normal person, it’s not. He sees it a lot where, you’re in the business and you understand the business and you expect everyone to understand what you’re doing but most people don’t, so you really need to start from the beginning and have someone who understands this and be a part of the app development from the very start.
  • Robert stated that if you have a lot of notes on a professional level, Evernote is also something he uses very much. He uses all different types of cloud services like for storage such as Dropbox and OneDrive and Google Drive.
  • Robert shared that there are many books that have had some impact on him but for this particular project, there is none. He has been influenced by a lot of American entrepreneurs and like everyone else, Steve Jobs is a person to look up to, he did a lot of good things and also Richard Branson. He also mentioned that he really appreciates Tony Fadell, he likes people who are simplifying things and if he had one topic in his life, it would be simplification, he wants to automate and simplify things so there is time for other stuff.
  • Robert stated his excitement and focus is the expansion. It is the main part right now but what he’s mostly focusing on right now is Version 2.0, so right now to shop in his store you need to have your mobile app, you need to go into the store with the app, you need to scan the goods, you need to press to pay and the next version, you just have to have the phone in your pocket. You will go to the store, the doors will automatically open, you go in, you take whatever you want and then you just leave, after a few minutes you get a preliminary invoice which you can accept or reject and after 24 hours you get the proper invoice. So basically, you don’t need to touch the phone, it will be much simpler for the people who don’t like to use technology, it might be more simplified for the elderly, it might be that they are just not into tech and they are afraid of his store today because it’s very tech focused, you have to understand technology. Even if the app is simple, there is a barrier but he can remove the barrier. He stated that it is looking promising right now.
  • Robert stated that one thing he is using from IKEA is a statement that their founder said and that is “Most things remain to be done.” It reminds him that even though he thinks something is as good as it can be, he can make it better and even though sometimes it feels like he’s stuck, there are so many things that can break it free for him. That is one quote that he is trying to think about a lot.
  • Here is a link to visually view this unmanned Grocery Store - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShNL3oU4Mi0

 

Links

www.narassar.se

Robert Ilijason LinkedIn

Robert Ilijason Twitter

Evernote

Dropbox

OneDrive

Google Drive.

Robert Ilijason Unmanned Grocery Store Video

Nov 1, 2016

Emilie Shoop is a Speaker and Coach, founder of Shoop Training and Consulting and the creator of the premier team building event Rally the Team as well as the popular program The Shoop Shift: Six Gears to Rev Up Your Culture, Team and Leadership. She is the go to Leadership Expert when you want to learn how to maximize the efforts of your team the right way, so you go from just being another manager or business owner to being an influential leader.

 

People are complex and Emilie helps you learn to make each employee shine; she is a pro at getting to the heart of an organization’s people challenges and helping you to turn problems into success. Shoop Training and Consultant was created because one of Emilie’s pet peeves is unhappy people in the workplace. People are either unhappy with the work they are doing, their bosses or their employers. It is her belief that everyone has an innate desire to do well and somehow people lose track of that along the way, it is this belief that drives her to reach out and impact others with her people focused leadership.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Why do you think that leadership is important to customer experience and how you think what you are doing impacts on the external end of the business with the customers?
  • Dou you find that some people are place in leadership positions because of their years of service with an organization or sometimes what’s on paper in terms of their academic successes but not necessarily because they naturally have an ability to lead other people?
  • As a leadership expert, could you tell us three (3) things that you think every leader in any business needs to master in order to lead a very successful team with a culture that is built on service orientation?
  • What are some recommendations that you would give to a business owner in the online spectrum in terms of leading in a strong way and creating a culture where you can translate how you feel to your customers and employees on an online platform?
  • Can you tell us a little bit more about the Shoop Shift?
  • 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?
  • If you where sitting across the table from another business owner and they said to you that they feel they have great products and services but they lack the constantly motivated human capital, what’s the one piece of advice would you give them to have a successful business?
  • 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

 

  • Emilie Shoop stated that she started her career in IT, she spent a lot of time with highly technical people and was highly technical herself, she found over time that she really just liked the people side of organizations and when she became a manager she got to start impacting her team by using good leadership and it was very interesting how many people complained about going to work and they don’t like the environment that they are in and just a few tweaks of leadership could make a lot of teams and a lot of employees really happy. When Emilie started her business she didn’t want to fix peoples’ computers for a living, she wanted to help people be happier at work and that’s what she set out to do.

 

Yanique stated that most of the companies that she has done business with and IT is one of those departments where they are very hard to communicate with; they don’t like to talk very much and a lot of things that they think are normal or that everyone should get, they get annoyed when you don’t get it because they thinks it’s normal and you should do this to get the computer work, it’s just a basic behavior and you are looking at them because they do it every day and you don’t.

 

Emilie agreed that IT persons are not really people persons and that it’s easier to target the IT world because it’s highly technical but she has been in organizations where there’s a lot of nurses and they are highly technical and they struggle with the same thing and same with financial institutions where people are really good with numbers but not good with the people aspect of it and so there is a lot of work to be done to help people to come out and realize what they think is “common sense” and “how could you not know that this is what you need to do” to get that across to the person in a much gentler way.

 

  • Emilie stated that she sees it a lot where people will ask do you do customer service training and when she digs a little bit deeper and find out what’s going on in an organization, it usually comes down to some poor communication and poor training for the employees that are trying to give good customer service but they don’t have the tools, they are not equipped with the right information to do a better job and so they don’t realize that they are not doing a good job because they are doing the best they can with what they have and so she gets to work with people and help them figure out where the leadership break downs are coming from and a lot of times she sees that somebody has been put in a leadership position that doesn’t know how to let go of the daily activities and lead the team, they just keep taking over and doing it all themselves and team members are not able to grow and actually learn how to provide the best customer service.

 

  • Emilie stated that she sees where some people are place in leadership positions because of their years of service with an organization or sometimes what’s on paper in terms of their academic successes but not necessary because they naturally have an ability to lead other people. What she sees is that for example: “I really like Suzie and how she works on this and we want to reward her some way, and the only way we can think of is to promote her” and then that promotion comes with a leadership component, instead of finding a way to reward that person for doing well, it could be with a different type of job with a different type of responsibility but making sure that responsibility matches with their natural gifts or their abilities or even desires. A lot of times people are promoted into those positions and they have no desire to lead a team.

 

Emilie stated for recommendation on promoting someone like Suzie without putting her into a leadership role, you want to make sure that you know Suzie well and have the conversation with her so that you can say “what is it that will help you feel more fulfilled with the growth opportunity that you are looking for, here’s what we see as opportunities or needs of the organization. Are any of these a good fit for you?” And so, looking for a way that she could take on more responsibility in ways that makes the most sense for her. Sometimes they have that person will become the one that trains others and that’s a different responsibility but they don’t have to lead them, they are just good at explaining how to do what they do or she as seen them take on different escalations so you are not the first line, you’re the second or third line or you only handle the special cases and that’s a way to have a different type of promotion in that scenario but really getting down to individual and figuring out what’s best for them.

 

Yanique shared that the approach of the organization is to include the employee in the decision making process of how it is that they are rewarded and that way it’s a win-win situation for both people because the company wins because the employee is doing something that they actual enjoy and they appreciate that reward versus just giving someone something they’re not too pleased with and they may fail as a result because their strength is not in that area.

 

Emilie agreed that stated that we fall into that trap of thinking that we want that recognition and we get caught up thinking the only way to do that is to become a manager and lead a team and that’s not the only way to get there.

 

 

  • Emilie shared that the first thing is connecting, taking the time to connect with the individuals on your team, not just lumping everybody together but really getting to know the individuals. That will do so much for your business and how invested everybody is in your team. The second one is over communicate, the number one complaint she gets when she goes into any organization no matter how good they are at communicating, there is a lack of communication. She always tell people to start erring on the side of over communicating, look at it like marketing where you have to say the same thing ten (10) times for somebody to realize that they even heard the message, pretend you’re marketing your leadership message and you just keep repeating it and that will really start to help boost organization as well and then really just investing in your team and finding out where the weaknesses are, where they can use some extra help and focusing on the strengths and where you can boost there and just really having a pulse on the need of the team and making sure you take the time to fulfill those.

 

  • Emilie stated that it really comes down to being human and not trying to be over professional. When you try to make everything kind of textbook or this is a business and therefore I should talk like a business, it’s really hard for people to connect. If you work with people in an office, you tend to have those conversations about “what happened over the weekend?” or “how’s the family?” or “I have this going on in my life.” The more you can incorporate that human inside of things, the more people can connect with you because that’s really what people are looking for, that human connection.

 

Yanique shared that she purchased a book called “People Shock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule” by Tema Frank. The theme of the book was in moving forward in the world today, even though things are becoming totally automated, the one thing that customers are constantly yearning for is some level of human interaction.  A lot of what she talks about is at the end of the we really have to get back down to the foundation of dealing with people and that simple human interaction. A lot of companies think that when they have an IVR system that says “press 1 for this and 2 for that or 3 for that” and after you have press 1,2 or 3 you have another set of buttons you need to press before you actual get to a human being.

 

Emilie stated that a few places where she called have the option for you to have them call you back, you can hang up and they will automatically call you back when it is your turn.

 

  • Emilie shared the history of the Shoop Shift, she stated that over the years of working with her clients, she started to notice some trends that if you take a little shift in those areas, your business, your leadership, your team and your culture, everything will just start run a lot smoother. When she started to work with a company, she listed out the different areas and then help them figure out where they are hurting the most and they can start with that but the different areas are clarity, having a clear mission and vision and where the business or team is heading so that people know what the point of their work is, is very important. The second one is connection and having that really good connection with your team and making sure that everybody feels that they are apart of something bigger and people care whether or not they show up is really important. The third one is the communication and that’s where we focus on where there might be areas of improvement for communication, a lot of time we spend time on what needs to be communicated because they might be sending out information that nobody needs but totally missing something that everybody needs so she works in that area. Then coaching, she is not a big fan of discipline in the workplace but how can you coach people to get better performance and really focus in on strengths of people and just brings out the best in everybody. The next one is conflict and this is one where people try to eliminate all conflict in the workplace and she is an advocate of having some conflict because other than the petty high school drama, if it’s not that, it’s usually two (2) people that really care about their job, that are really passionate and they really want to do something for the customer or the business and they just have a difference in opinion on how to get there and she thinks that’s a great situation to be in. Lastly, you put it all together in the culture and people see different cultures in organizations and they look at their own and if you’re not working on that intentional everyday, your culture is going to fall to the least common denominator, so she helps people put that in the forefront and focus on that on a daily basis.

 

  • Emilie shared that a unique app because it is really a time saver and a lifesaver and with every thing being online with pictures and visuals are so helpful, she loves PicMonkey. It’s a website where you can manipulate graphics in no time. You don’t have to be an expert and you can get cool graphics to put on your social media, on your website, in your PowerPoint and it’s super easy to use.

 

 

  • Emilie stated that the advice she would give is just stay focus on the people, if you focus on people as individuals, not trying to group them together or lump them into some way that you can make it easier for you to manage but if you focus on people as individuals, your business will be successful. The more you care about your employees, the more they care about your clients.

 

Emilie shared that the advice she would give an individual that is not a people person and is concerned about the bottom line as she has worked with persons like that and it’s a little bit of struggle because there is some convincing on her part for them but usually she has to break it down into the bottom line where if you connect more, you will have a lower turn over rate with your employees and that turn over rate is this much and it cost you this amount and that’s why it’s important. Getting a new client is much more expensive than taking care of an existing client and you can show that return on the investment and there are some people that you just cannot convince that that is important and they are not the right people to be with, then there are employees that are okay with that, it’s just picking and choosing the right combination than an employee to make it fit.

 

Emilie shared as consumers our expectations and standards are raising and how we all want to be treated overall.

 

  • Emilie stated that she is really excited about an awards program that she has, she realized that this whole people skills thing and being people focused is really hard and it’s hard to get good at it and it’s not something that people get recognized for very often. A few years ago she started a leadership awards program where she goes through and give people awards in the different areas and it’s been really exciting to see that grow and to see more out of her region but right now it’s more regional and it’s something where each of the leaders get to share their tips and their thoughts on the aspect of leaderships. If they are really good at dealing with conflict, they get to share a little bit about that. It’s just an exciting day. The leadership award for this year is November 2016 and she has nominations coming in now so this is like the nerve-racking part, where she has to get all the nominations in.
  • Emilie say listeners can find her on:

http://www.shooptc.com

Emilie Shoop Facebook

Emilie Shoop Twitter

 

  • Emilie stated that her go to quote is “You have not because you ask not.” She usually finds that when she is stuck or hitting a barrier, if there is no harm in asking, either for help or for the sale or whatever the case might be. She likes to remind herself, whom can she ask?

 

Links

 

1