John Formica, the “Ex-Disney Guy”, is a highly sought after internationally known speaker and author of the top selling book, “Making the Customer Experience Magical Now! - How to Succeed in Business and Beat Out Your Competition Today”.
John has appeared on the NBC Morning Show, ABC, CBS, FOX, Univision, numerous business journals and recently featured in the Virgin Atlantic In-flight Magazine, after completing five successful speaking tours in Australia and being named “Australia’s Best Customer Experience Coach.” John has inspired audiences with over 3,500 keynotes and seminars throughout the United States and all across the globe.
Today, John is the leading authority in the service industry, small business growth and team culture environments. He has successfully coached hundreds of small businesses, cities, tourism communities, healthcare professionals, universities, schools and teams to build customer loyalty for life, attract and keep more customers and create “Whistle While You Work” Team Environments.
Yanique reiterate that he’s doing things that people would want to be doing on a regular basis and having fun while doing it and he’s also creating value in people's lives.
John agreed and stated that he loves helping people, he’s a server. He just wants to serve people in whatever we can help them. In his world, it's really helping them as leaders, help them as tools, help them in their business by the result. Changing people's lives and there’s not a noble cause in that.
Yanique stated that in the book it also says our purpose is more important than the job and while you're doing your job, you're always having your radar up, looking for ways to make people happy. For example, taking a picture of a family in front of the castle. Now in a regular organization let's say for example, a supermarket, you pack the grocery bags for the customers or you work at an automotive company that sells cars so you're a sales representative, your purpose statement is clearly going to be different from Disney, but will you also apply that same technique with the purpose being more important than the job.
John agreed and gave an example from an auto service repair. Many of them are his clients and many of them are mom and pop establishment so he’s trying to help them to build that culture and if you ask them what their purpose is, their purpose is to fix the car or make sure the car is running properly or make sure all the maintenance is done and make sure they use quality parts and make sure of all those things. And that's not their purpose, that's their job, that's what they do. But in reality, if we boil down to what's the purpose of an auto service repair shop in reality, it's to give him the consumer a peace of mind knowing that the vehicle is safe on the road, it's going to be in working order, it's going to be reliable when he has to get up to go to work in the morning or his kids’ cars are safe, his wife's car is safe. It's that piece of mind he’s getting. So, when you think about it, you have to do the job, you have to mechanically do all those things correctly but when he says to himself, wait a minute, he’s going to make sure that he’s going to double check to make sure those bolts tightened because he know he wants his client to have a peace of mind knowing that they did the right job, they didn't just do it halfway, they didn't just do a quick job, they go in, get this thing turned around, make money and move on to the next one. He wants to give them a peace of mind so when they drive off after getting their car serviced that they feel good, so, every decision is based on did that give someone a peace of mind. And that's the decisions that they make based on that. And it’s the same thing of a grocery store, again, maybe not a piece of mind of course but it's providing a great experience because they can go anywhere in grocery stores but knowing that that person who stacks the groceries in the bag doesn't just throw them in there and says, “Who cares, you need the groceries in a bag, I did it for you,” but takes good care knowing that they provide a great service in the food industry for people, making and sure you continue to think that way. So, everybody believes in it whether you're just a baggar or you're the manager of a grocery store. Everybody's going to do everything they can to make sure that that food is great quality it is not damaged so when they go back they can have that great experience.
Yanique stated following up on their point as it relates to the purpose, in the book it also shares that when you’re creating this magical purpose for your company you should get as many people involved in developing this statement, the owners, the managers, the supervisors, the front team, the back-office team. Don't be afraid to also get feedback from your loyal customers, ask each other why it's important, make it clear, short and easy, make it emotional, make it visible and memorable, reward and recognize people when it's carried out and post those accomplishments everywhere and discuss them at meetings and also celebrate successes and have fun. Why do you think it's important to do all these things just to create the magic in the purpose?
John stated that your purpose statement has to be an emotional connection between staff, managers, and the people that have carry it out and of course the organization. In many companies like he shared, they kind of lose sight of the why and they focus on all the other things on what, where and what he has seen many businesses small or large is that the CEO and the Presidents and executive team and the board of directors and maybe even the H.R. folks, they’re the ones that create the purpose statement and then all of a sudden it gets introduced to the entire organization and says, “By the way, this is what you're going to do now.” And the staff sitting there going, “What was wrong with the other one that we had?” or “I'm so busy, now there's more things you want me to do.” So, if you get everybody involved, you create the buying, you get everybody's opportunity to express their own thoughts of why they do what they do. It doesn't mean everybody is going to have a perfect answer to all of it but at least people have ownership and then a buy in that I'll do it because I had a part of it, when it's just top down, it's just becomes another thing and the interesting thing about a purpose statement, is that you’d never ever going to achieve it. So, it's not something that, “Okay, we did it. Now what else is next?” Your purpose statement has to be something that you're always going to be striving every single day, day in, week in, month out, year out, 10 to 15 years from now. It's not something you change because you're always striving to achieve it. An example of Disney making people happy. Every single cast member at Disney and there are 75,000 of them that work at the Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida alone, every single one of them know that today when they wake up, before they go to work, they got to say to myself, “Man, today I'm going to make someone happy.” And they're always striving to do that, well guess what, “Tomorrow’s another day, I have to make someone happy again.” And there are people that have been at Disney for the first time, got to make them happy. And there are people who have been at Disney 50 times, got to make them happy too and you’ve got to make kids happy, you’ve got to make adults happy, you're going to make seniors happy, you’ve got to make each other happy. So, it never ends, you're always striving to reach that so when you get everybody excited about it, that's what he wants you to post things, he wants you to talk about it, he wants you to reward and recognize people because then becomes a living thing not something that the flavor of the month or we have a new H.R. director or we have a new CEO, that's their idea of what the vision of the company.
John stated that what they’re trying to see if they’re a good fit and the best way to see it is to actually watch it in action rather than when they interview people in an office they say things like, are you energetic? Are you a people person? Do you like working with others? Do you have a lot of enthusiasm and energy? And what are the typical responses, “Yes” So by walking around they actually get to observe them and see are they and he always have this great saying that during an interview that's the best the person is ever going be is during an interview, it goes downhill after that. So, if they're not enthusiastic, if they're not helpful, if they're not friendly, if they're not showing you eye contact, if they're not enthusiastic about the possibility of working for you during that interview, you don’t think it's going to happen once you hire them, do you, of course not. What he tries to do is get people out, some organizations are really small, there's not any place to go, maybe a small office cubicle they’re working in but then get him outside, take them to a coffee shopp or something like that. Now, if you want somebody to punch numbers on the computer and sit in the back office and not talk to anybody, maybe that's not exactly necessary but in the customer service world that we live in where it's all about creating those experiences, you cannot hire somebody to change them into your culture. If you didn’t see it during the hiring process, as you should. He shared a story about his hotels, he used to get his front desk staff involved in the interviewing process. Whenever he was hiring a front desk person or a concierge guest services person, he would walk them around the hotel and do all the things you just suggested seeing how they react and he would take them to the front of the front desk at the hotel on the other side of the desk, not on the guest side but he would take them on the side that the workers are and he would all of a sudden say, “Oh, wait a minute I have to get this question. I'll be right back.” And he would leave them with his front desk clerks and at his front desk clerks would be, “Hey, how are you? You’re looking to work here? What are you doing now?” They would go through a little mini interview, what was interesting about it was he got feedback from them, many of them said, “Oh, this girl Susie, she's awesome. We really like her.” Or other times they would say, “I don't know. George has a personality of a dead fish, I don't think he's going to work.” And he would get feedback from his own team, guess what it created. One, it was great because he got a great perspective but then they had ownership in who we were hiring, and they had ownership of what they felt was a good fit and it was remarkable when you can do those sorts of things because now you're really seeing the person's true colors during that interview.
Yanique agreed and stated that especially if you know what specifically you're looking for as an individual. You knew what your personal purpose was which kind of dovetails back into what we know when we started the interview. The purpose statement that should drive the employees but even as an individual you knew what drove you as a person and so you're looking for characteristics and character traits of leaders that would be able to basically mold and drive that purpose for yourself.
John shared that as a manager and a business owner, the best way to find out what’s demotivating your staff is not looking at it as a general statement but it's a one on one. He used to always have one on ones with every single one of his direct reports and they just talked about the good, the bad, the ugly, what is it that they like what he’s doing, what is it that they want him to stop doing and what is it that they want him to continue doing and they talk about it. Sometimes he got some brutal honest input from a co-worker that said, “John you’re try to micromanage us. We can do it, or I can do it.” And he would say, “But you haven't shown me. Every time I've asked you to do it and I let you go, you didn't take it seriously enough or you didn't follow up.” But that was good it made him think, “Okay, am I micromanaging and maybe I shouldn't micromanage.” So then micromanaging was a demotivating thing for this particular staff member or maybe he didn't appreciate them, maybe he thought he said thank you, but he really didn't say thank you one on one, he kind of thanked the whole team. Again, find out one on one what motivates and what demotivates individuals. He loves this statement and knows the familiarity with it, “There's no I in team.” Guess what, teams are made up of a bunch of I’s, individuals, so we have to take care of individuals as well not just looking at the team's perspective.
John shared that you can sign up and get my new training videos for free. You can download them, it's just his way of giving back. They are only about eight minutes long but it's a good understanding of the philosophy of what they talk about. But the neat thing is you get every week a newsletter which is basically a tip to help you create more magic in your business and it could be a leadership tip, it could be a relationship tip, hiring, it could be the customer experience and it's a great way of staying in touch with him and you will have all the contact information as well but you will also have access to his library of other articles that he has posted over 100 articles that you'll be able to use but that's a great way of becoming part of his membership free, it doesn't cost anything. But then you'll get access when they’re ready to roll that out, they will send everybody that information, so if it's something of interest, it will be extremely affordable, and you'll be able to use that. He suggests that's probably the best way to be in contact, all his contact information is on that so if they want to reach out to him for a speaking event or perhaps helping their team, they can just go to his contact page and start that process. But he does a lot of free discovery calls just to see if he’s a good fit and see what if they can do anything they can to help you out.
Lavois Cruickshank, a simple yet ambitious young man Lavois has the incredible dream of positively impacting and inspiring a nation. The Spanish Town native lives by a philosophy posited by Jared Kintz, “Whether you live to be 50 or 100 makes no difference, if you've made no difference in the world.” and with this as his motivation. Lavois aims to use his abilities, gifts and skills to make a difference. He is currently serving as a Jamaica House Fellow at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston, Jamaica. Lavois prides himself in excellence, committing wholeheartedly to any duty or task. With his deep interest in Finance, Economics and Strategic Planning, Lavois pursued a BSc in Economics and Banking & Finance at the University of the West Indies. He also holds an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of Birmingham. With an immense love for tennis and a passion for nation development, Lavois actively serves as a math tutor at his alma mater, Calabar High School in Kingston, Jamaica; as a volunteer with the Jamaica National Foundation as an ambassador of the Governor General’s I Believe Initiative (I.B.I).
Just to give a little background to our listeners. Yanique was privileged to have the opportunity to hear Lavois speak in front of an audience of 300 plus last week around this time as we celebrate National Customer Service week, he was invited as a special guest on a panel of people who are probably twice his age, but he really commanded great attention and was able to really wow the people who are listening including herself, hence, why extended this wonderful invitation for him to join us on the Podcast
Yanique stated that one of our guests a couple of months ago wrote a book called The Effortless Experience and it's really been something that she has thought about for a very long time in terms of what customers are looking for and a lot of times not just yourself even other people that she has interviewed are just generally having conversation. People are actually looking for as you said an experience that requires them to put as little effort as possible which is why the online is such a remarkable experience for most people because if you can do the transaction literally at your office desk or while you're sitting in a doctor's office with your kid waiting to see a dentist or while you're sitting in an airport waiting to catch a flight. It makes your life that much easier.
When asked about why he thinks people want things now versus 10 or 15 years ago. Lavois stated that’s just how we are. He thinks that's just the general nature. Instant gratification is what we desire or want something that is just very natural. We get that satisfaction from having it now and the impatient is not something that we can work with. He thinks that technology has definitely helped to propel that desire. Technology has allowed us to access things very quickly than, quicker than we thought possible, initially and because we are now used to technology granting what we desire quickly, it has now become second nature that we just want it because it can happen, it has propelled us to that kind of mindset where it needs to happen, and it needs to happen now. Which can also be a bad thing, but it is a good thing in a sense.
Yanique agreed that stated that the reality as she say to people generally customer experience is constantly evolving so we're here discussing what customers want now, about five years from now it's probably going to be completely different from what we're discussing. The customer is driving that whole change, back in the day when there was no social media you basically had to just probably complain via writing or state any challenge you have by writing, you really didn't have much power because nobody knows that you wrote the letter but a customer has so much power now with social media, they can blast a company whether they're doing well or they're not doing so well, on any of these platforms and it literally reaches millions of people in seconds.
Facebook – www.facebook.com/lavois.cruickshank