Social Media Customer Service Tips (with Rachel David)

In my interview with Rachel David, founder of Hashtag Communications, we discuss social media customer service, managing remote employees and how businesses can leverage influencers to build trust with potential customers.

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If you prefer to read the transcript from the video, it can be found below.

Michel:            In this interview, I’m speaking to Rachel David to talk to her about social media, customer service, managing remote employees, and I’m going to ask her about the Jerk King fiasco.

Michel:            Guys, thank you so much for joining me. I’ve got the brilliant Rachel David with me to talk all things social media, customer service, influencer marketing, and managing a remote team, all things that you can speak to in a professional, expert manner, which is why I invited you.

Michel:            So, thank you so much for joining me. I’m going to jump right into it, because I saw something this weekend where you went off. You went off on Instagram story about a restaurant called Jerk King.

Rachel:             Don’t say it fast.

Michel:            And Uber Eats.

Rachel:             Yeah.

Michel:            Tell everyone the story.

Rachel:             Okay. So I am a huge Uber-, I feel like most people, most millennials love their Uber Eats.

Michel:            How many days a week though?

Rachel:             Well, probably on average four. Yeah, but in the snow especially, it’s maybe a little bit more, but you’d think working from home, you would use less Uber Eats, but no I’m just always home. It sounds a really nice to not leave my bed right now, and just have it delivered, so I use it a lot.

Rachel:             Anyways. This was a couple of days ago, I ended up, Oh God, it was so rattling. I ended up ordering my Jerk King, my favorite Jerk Chicken on Uber Eats, and I saw that I accidentally had my friend’s address in there. So, I quickly deleted it, and I’m like, ‘Okay, well, I’m not going to send it to my friend’s address. I don’t even know if they’re home. ‘Yes, I would if I knew they were home, but I don’t know, and do they even like jerk chicken? I don’t know.’

Rachel:             So, I just was like, ‘Let’s cancel it’, but then there was a notification that said, ‘You’re going to be charged 17.50 to cancel this’, but in my mind, I’m like, ‘That’s a spelling typo, it’s 1.50, it’s not 17.50. You’re not charging me 17.50 in one second. Nope.’ Nope, they are.

Rachel:             So I said, ‘Cancel,’ and then I get the thing that’s like on my history, and it was like ‘You just got charged 17.50 for nothing’, and so I was like, ‘Okay, that’s ridiculous’. So, I ended up sending a note to Uber Eats. You know, you can send them a message through through the In-app service, and I didn’t hear a response, and then I found a number, and I was like, ‘Okay, well I will reach out to that number, and talk to somebody.’

Rachel:             So, the man on the other line was really nice, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m really sorry you’re going through this. Let me try to call the restaurant. We can’t do anything at Uber Eats. We actually can’t do anything’, which I find that hard to believe, but he was like, ‘But what I can do is call the restaurant’, because I guess it’s like they set their own rules, and parameters.

Rachel:             So, he tried calling the restaurant 13 times. He’s like, ‘I’m going to put you on hold for five minutes’, and then he’s like, ‘Sorry, I haven’t gotten a hold of them yet. I’m going to put you on hold for another five, 10 minutes’. At this point, I’m just like, ‘This is really bothering me’. I started getting pretty rattled, and then he picks up the phone, he goes, ‘I’m really sorry we can’t get ahold of them, and I’ve tried 13 times.’

Rachel:             I was like, okay, well first of all, how am I even going to order? How are they even preparing my order if nobody is there, and picking up the phone? Like, who is this ghost preparing my food? So, I was like, ‘Okay, cool. Can I call them?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, you can try, and see if they can do something’, and that’s when I just got angry.

Rachel:             So, I tried calling, nobody picked up. So, I was like, you know, I’m going to order again. Let’s see if they are there, are they going to send it to me, ’cause I would like to look this Uber Eats, even though I know it’s not his fault, I need to let this out. So I was like, ‘Come to my place, look me in the eye, and really tell me that nobody’s in the restaurant to pick up the phone, just pick up the phone’.

Michel:            This is pretty sinister.

Rachel:             Who was that, ‘Pick up the phone babe’? Who was that, Young Thug? No, I don’t know. I feel like you would know. Oh no, that’s a good one. No, I was thinking, ‘Pick up the phone baby’. You know it, what’s that song?

Speaker 3:        Young Thug.

Rachel:             Young Thug. See? I was right. There you go, culture, culture.

Michel:            So you’re documenting this whole experience.

Rachel:             On my Instagram.

Michel:            Instagram story.

Rachel:             Well, because at that point when they didn’t pick up the phone, I was like, ‘Well what can I do? I guess I have my social media, and I can tell people’, ’cause really at the end of the day, the thing I love is that you can advise people what to do, what not to do.

Rachel:             The thing is, if you wait to cancel it in like 10 minutes, that’s one thing, but within a second? Come on. So, I told people on my social media, this is what happened. So, just so you know, make sure you have the address right, because you could be charged a ridiculous fee in a matter of a quick little mistake, there’s no mercy.

Rachel:             So then, I put this on my Uber, or sorry, on my Instagram, and I tagged Uber, and Jerk King. Well, Jerk King didn’t have social media, obviously they don’t even have a phone. So, I hashtagged Jerk King, and I was just telling the whole story, and was like, ‘All right, maybe I should switch from Uber Eats, maybe like what’s up Foodora?’, and I like did the little wave, and then Foodora reached out within a second.

Michel:            I saw that.

Rachel:             That was pretty wild. It was literally in five minutes to be like, ‘Hey, here’s a promo code.’

Michel:            So does immediacy, obviously that positively impacts social media customer service, but what else has to be brought to the table for brand to be great at leveraging social media as a communication tool with their customers?

Rachel:             Well, I need to finish off with where the story ended, was that Uber Eats actually saw what Foodora, because I tagged them in the whole thing. So, in the end, right after I did that, they messaged and was like, ‘Sorry, we’ve refunded you’.

Rachel:             So, was the social media aspect of kind of putting them I think out there, and being like, ‘Hey, hold yourself accountable to that, you shouldn’t be doing this’, and so when they told me they couldn’t do anything, and then they could, to be honest, it did still bother me, cause I was like don’t do this to other people. Just because maybe like if you’re verified on Instagram, you have a lot of followers, you can make change. You should really be doing this, and treating people equally.

Michel:            What about the authenticity part of it? Cause it sounds like they weren’t gonna do anything about it until you pretty much had your foot on their throat being like, ‘Hey, your competitor’s talking to me right now’, and then they changed their behavior.

Rachel:             Yeah.

Michel:            So, would you suggest that authenticity, it has to be a pillar to being great at social media, customer service?

Rachel:             I think it comes down to what you preach, which is start from like what are the pillars of their culture, you know? And for me at my company, it’s just being kind to people, you know, and treating people with just don’t be a dick. Do you know what I mean? Don’t be a dick, and if you really follow that, like in my world, like in the way I lead my life, you know, I think every even person has their own sort of morals, and values obviously, and the way that they lead their life.

Rachel:             And especially as a CEO, you have to create that culture, so you have to lead by example. So, that’s like, you are nice to everybody. Like, for me it’s like you’re the Uber driver, you’re the surfer, whoever it is, you treat them all equally, and with the same level of respect, and kindness, right?

Rachel:             So, I think that goes hand, in hand with a company as large as Uber. It’s like, what are the pillars of customer service, what actually can, and can’t you do, and I think communication is one of the hardest things, especially as you scale.

Rachel:             Uber scaled so quickly. So, I kind of understand how maybe some departments know certain things, and maybe some others don’t, but I think all getting on the same page, and being united, you know, unity is really big.

Michel:            When a customer has been wronged, but had that wrongdoing resolved, do you think we as consumers have the ownership to go back online, and say company ABC did it well, or is that just expectation, and table stakes?

Rachel:             I think that it’s a nice thing to praise somebody for doing the right thing, because everybody loves acknowledgement, and I think that you’re able to motivate people through acknowledging them.

Michel:            For the record, I did not prompt her to say that, because I’m just about to go on a tangent very briefly. It’s our responsibility as consumers to help power great experiences.

Michel:            There’s somebody, a human being at the end of the interaction that just wants to be acknowledged, and if you give them that gratitude for a job well done, it’s going to empower them to want to do it again, and again.

Michel:            That is our responsibility as consumers to better the customer experience. What companies are doing social media customer service really well? Do you like watch from afar, and you’re like, ‘That company is doing it’.

Rachel:             Customer service really well. I mean, I think the first thing that comes to mind is like the amount of E-commerce brands that started E-commerce. They weren’t bricks, and mortar and then went E-commerce. So, you’re looking at companies like Fashion Nova that are like responding to every DM so quickly.

Rachel:             You know, cause social media is their thing, so they’ve kind of taken it to a different level. I think brands are getting a lot smarter when it comes to campaigns on social media, and how they are trying to get attention from people. There was something wild that happened about a week, or two ago. I don’t know if you saw it with Casey Neistat, and Burger King.

Michel:            I did, but share the story please.

Rachel:             Okay. So, long story short, basically Burger King went into really big social media influencers Twitter, and they scrolled farther, back, back, back like 10 years. Now, anybody who gets a liked tweet from 10 years ago, and I’m guessing Burger King is verified.

Rachel:             So, when you’re verified on Twitter, you immediately get a notification that somebody liked, or commented. So, that’s why getting verified on Twitter I think is one of the best verification social networks to be verified on, because you can get ahold of anybody, I’m telling you it’s a game changer.

Rachel:             So, Burger King went, and liked a bunch of influencers tweets from 10 years ago, and so obviously the reaction’s like, ‘Why are they liking our tweets from 10 years ago?’ So Casey tweeted at Burger King, ‘Why did you like my tweet from 10 years ago?’ And it was all kind of part of this big campaign to get influencers talking about Burger King without sponsoring, or paying them to do so, and then it kind of pissed off a lot of influencers. So, there’s a good, and bad way.

Michel:            You mentioned Fashion Nova, I was just thinking about them the other day being like at this company seemingly came out of nowhere, and dominated social media by leveraging influencers. What type of perception is given when a company leverages influencers? What customer perception?

Rachel:             Well, I mean this is the world I work in. I run an influencer marketing company, and so the reason why I even chose this field, is because I know it’s on an upward trajectory. It’s a four point $5 billion industry right now in North America. It’s going to be a $10 billion industry in 2020, that’s like what, next year? That’s pretty crazy.

Rachel:             So, we’re seeing it go upwards, and I think the reason is, is because of the loyalty that people have, especially millennials. Millennials, when they’re buying something, 60% of consumer products especially made online by a millennial are made by something they see on social media, and that is because they’re spending like on average nine hours a day on social media. That’s pretty crazy, but if you think about it like between Twitch, and Instagram, and Twitter, it’s like, I spend a lot of time on those social networks as well.

Rachel:             So, I think that it provides this sort of brand trust when they see an influencer, because some of them spend more time with their YouTube friends than they do with their real life friends. You know, I’ve seen E-commerce brands virtually transform, I don’t know if you know the company HiSmile, they’re a teeth whitening brand.

Rachel:             It’s it’s a photograph-able, it lends itself really well to Instagram, and there was this headline that I read, and it was a couple of 20-something year olds turn a few thousand bucks into a $40 million business, and within 18 months, their company was at $10 million, and they did a brand deal with Kylie Jenner when Kylie Jenner was on the rise, I think she was at 75 million followers at the time.

Rachel:             Now, she’s well over that, but their company is like, it’s working. It’s really working for brands. I think doing it effectively is a whole other thing.

Michel:            I think influencer marketing can actually better the customer experience if the person delivering the message can be trusted. Are celebrities trusted?

Rachel:             Well …

Michel:            Big time celebrities.

Rachel:             That’s an interesting question, because apparently if you look at the data, only three percent of consumer products are sold, because of a celebrity endorsement, and this makes sense. You know, I gave this example in this, actually I did a TED talk for the first time in September, which is a huge honor.

Rachel:             And one of the things that I pointed out was this makes sense that only three percent is of a conversion rate really, because if you look at somebody like, I take Jennifer Aniston as an example, and I know she is not using Aveeno everyday. I mean, she might, but I know that she’s got the money to have these like weird vampire facials, and you know, you might be doing that, and Aveeno, but it’s not just Aveeno .

Rachel:             So it’s like, and I know that, ’cause I see your lifestyle, and I see your friends, and I don’t relate to her. She is not me, we are in totally different places in our lives, and so it’s like, if it’s an influencer that maybe is in also like the same sort of tax bracket that I’m in, and we’re looking for a good product that’s going to help the wrinkles go away, but they’re like, ‘Yeah, it’s a little bit more money, but it really works’, I’m going to trust them.

Michel:            Last year, McDonald’s Canada reached out to me to help them with their national hiring day campaign, and when they first reached me, and we can link up the video for that, but when they first reached out to me, I was like, they probably have the wrong person.

Michel:            Why are they reaching out to me? But then when the PR agency that we’re working with, they chatted with me, they were like, ‘You know, you’re like a micro influencer’. I was like, ‘Is that insulting?’

Rachel:             What do you mean? They didn’t say nano influencer though? That’s the new word.

Michel:            A nano influencer. How many?

Rachel:             Yeah. It goes nano, micro, macro.

Michel:            Is there less than an nano?

Rachel:             No, I don’t think so.

Michel:            What’s nano?

Rachel:             I think a nano is basically considered a person who, I think it’s under a thousand followers. Probably in the 800 follower range. Like, they’re your everyday person who, because the engagement rates are high for smaller Instagrammers.

Michel:            And, is it more authentic, and believable?

Rachel:             Yes.

Michel:            It goes with your point. So, influencer marketing is growing, you said by 2020 it will double.

Rachel:             Yeah.

Michel:            So, it doesn’t seem like the topic is going away anytime soon, which is fantastic for your business. Do you think that some companies are still asking the ROI? What is the ROI of influencer marketing, or social media customer service?

Rachel:             Yeah.

Michel:            For me, it’s perplexing that we’re still, some companies might still be asking that, but what are you hearing?

Rachel:             I mean, I hear that question in every meeting I ever go to, and my response is, ‘Well A, who are you? Like, what brand are you? Are you Adidas, or are you Skinny Bunny Tea?’ Like, the price of what you are going to pay an influencer, also is determined of who your brand is. You know, what’s your culture, what do you stand for?

Rachel:             And so that also indicates the likelihood of how many sales are really made. You know, like it’s easier to sell a very unique product that’s maybe you’ve seen on Dragon’s Den that’s new to the market, and everybody wants it, and it’s going to really benefit their lives.

Rachel:             It’s really difficult, because I did a deal with an eyewear company, and this eyewear company, the promo that these influencers had to give wasn’t probably high enough. It’s really difficult for people to buy glasses, prescription glasses on the website, and the UX design of the website was not easy to navigate, so it all of a sudden makes an ROI very difficult to measure, because I can lead the horse to water, but I can’t make it drink, right?

Rachel:             So, it’s the company that all those things need to be thought through before doing anything. Like, as soon as you implement an influencer campaign, you’re going to get lots of eyeballs, so everything has to be in place.

Michel:            Got it. I want to transition to having a conversation about managing remote employees, your team primarily, if not everyone is remote. How do you build a company culture when your team don’t come to the same office as you every single day? As their leader, how do you do that?

Rachel:             Well, I’ve taken a lot of different approaches to how I want to build my team. I think it’s really important to think of what’s important to you. You know, for me, freedom is very important to me, and also I’m a people pleaser a little bit. So, if I have people around me all the time, I’m going to want to make sure they’re always good, you know?

Rachel:             Therefore, I’m not using my brain on things like actual strategy, which is what I’m getting hired to do. You know, so I really have to analyze, also offices are hella expensive, especially in Toronto. So, is that an overhead cost that I want to charge my client?

Rachel:             You know, there’s all these factors, and is it that necessary? So, what I have done in the past, I have had a place where everybody joins together like a workplace, and I wanted to see sort of what the energy was like, and if anything, they were more stiff.

Rachel:             I don’t need my staff to be stiff, I need them to come up with good ideas, and do the work. So then I transitioned to, well, how about everybody comes over on a Sunday, that was my thing that I did for about two years. Every Sunday, my door’s open to you, I’m going to cook for you, we’re going to have a nice time, I’m going to create a family environment, and essentially I want them to know that I care for them.

Rachel:             And so I’m opening my home to them, and I want to hear, I want to get to know them, right? I want to know their goals, I wanna know what they’re trying to achieve, right? And I think the biggest thing about when you’re working with the staff is just making it so they care, okay?

Rachel:             That’s at the crux. Like, a lot of times what we do now, especially in marketing, it’s not like a nine to five job, especially on social media, and working with influencers, ’cause they could be posting at all different times. We also work with companies in Asia.

Rachel:             That’s a 24 hour now working at midnight. So, I need a staff that’s pretty flexible, and also cares. So, I did that, and then just recently I’ve transitioned, because I will say this, and what I’m learning is understanding my boundaries as a boss, and as a friend. So, the personal, and business, which I never thought that, that was a thing, but it weighs a lot on me, because I care so much.

Rachel:             So, then I start thinking of these things, and then when you know too much, then you’re like, ‘Is this person stable to do this’ in whatever it is, and it almost takes away from the actual task. So, I’m learning that maybe what I want to do, and this is something I’m going to start trying to do, is every month doing a really awesome family style dinner with everybody in the company.

Rachel:             So, once a month, if they can make it, and everybody likes to eat, you know, and I’d rather have that good experience left in their mind, than anything. That’s all I want is them to be happy. So, when they think of Hashtag, and when they see an email from me, that it’s not a trigger of, ‘Stress, stress, oh my God, Rachel, she’s going to be angry’, it’s like, ‘No, that’s my friend’. You know, ‘No, that, that person cares. Oh, she’s somebody that I have a good feeling when I think of.’

Michel:            Speaking of food, let’s say you’re on death row. What would be your last meal?

Rachel:             I feel like I must have told you this one time.

Michel:            No, I swear you haven’t?

Rachel:             Really?

Michel:            I asked this question to nearly everyone I meet.

Rachel:             Well, I’m pretty simple woman. I like a good burger.

Michel:            Okay.

Rachel:             I love a good burger, oh my God!

Michel:            All right. You mentioned freedom. I recently was on a podcast with Patty McCord. She was the VP of HR for about 15 years I believe at Netflix, and Netflix, one of their core values is employee freedom. Along with that, what are some things that you are doing within the company, whether it’s strategies, or processes to make sure that your remote team is productive, because you have that separation?

Rachel:             So, one thing I do is I always put in deadlines.

Michel:            Okay.

Rachel:             So, I’ll never be like, ‘Hey, can you do this?’ I’ll always say, ‘Hey, can you do this?’, but within this time, can you get it to me by this time? And then I put it in my calendar. So, I go, ‘Okay, ask so, and so for this thing’, and so it’s just like an immediate one, two, one, two.

Rachel:             I also now have started, I mean it’s all pillars, right? So, I have like one account that is completely managed by that point person. She reports directly to me, and then she has people that she manages. So, I just have to give the sort of ass, and then they also manage that, or they take it from me. It’s almost like, I feel like I run five companies at once.

Rachel:             So, it’s about like you said, instilling that you have confidence in them, that you’re proud of them, that you appreciate them. In all my emails, I mean, because typically they’re doing really great, and they are going above, and beyond, and I am just like, like one girl, she’s on a staycation in Niagara Falls, and this client just came through, and I was like, ‘Do you want to help me with this deck? It’s a new account, it’s really big. You don’t have to, but I’d love to get you in on the ground floor’, and she was like, Yeah, let’s do it’.

Rachel:             And it’s like, she is doing this, her poor boyfriend, you know? Another thing was sort of knowing what I believe in as Rachel, and what I stand for. So, one of the things is female empowerment. For the first three years, I’ve only hired women actually, which is a little bit controversial, but you know, I come from a background where I worked in television for years, and a lot of my self worth was predicated on the way that I look, and it wasn’t for my brain.

Rachel:             It was for the way that I looked on camera, and I could say lines, and I was so devastated when I was let go from that job, and it’s all over YouTube, my story, and everything of how that happened.

Michel:            We’ll link it up below.

Rachel:             It’s quite emotional, and it’s just been such an empowering feeling to make things happen, or create things that have never been created, or will provide jobs to people, and just feel that empowerment from your brain, rather than just your body, you know? So, that’s been something really big for me, although I did just hire my first guy three weeks ago.

Michel:            So, let’s say I applied for whatever position.

Rachel:             Yeah.

Michel:            How would you describe your leadership style to me if I asked you in the interview process? How does Rachel David lead?

Rachel:             I lead by example, and that’s why you see on my Instagram, it’s like midnight, I’m like, I’m still working, you know? So, I need them to know, actually, Gary Vaynerchuk, love him, or hate him. He, I think has taught me that you need to lead by example.

Rachel:             So, even if I travel, you know, I am working when I travel. It’s listen, have fun, but get it done.

Michel:            Okay.

Rachel:             Have fun, but get it done, I like that. Is that a quote already?

Michel:            Well Jordan, you’re trademarking it.

Rachel:             No, no, I want it! That’s how I’m gonna end my Youtube videos.

Michel:            My last question is, if you were to hire any influencer, who would it be to join your team?

Rachel:             Oh, well that’s an interesting question, because I don’t hire influencers, so I should just preface.

Michel:            Let’s say, Hashtag Communication’s got to a point where …

Rachel:             Where I was signing influencers exclusively?

Michel:            Yes.

Rachel:             ‘Cause we basically work with everyone, all the management companies. A brand calls us, and we’ll be like, ‘We need to get this done’. So, my whole thing is that I don’t want to sign them, because then I’m pigeoned into, you know, say McDonald’s calls, and they’re like, ‘Oh, we have this great meat burger’, I don’t want to have a vegan on my roster that I’m taking a percentage of every month off their back end.

Rachel:             Business plans are interesting, but basically I’m more of a consultant for, we’re all consultants for brands.

Michel:            Okay.

Rachel:             So, we work with every influencer in the world.

Michel:            So, if you were to interact with any influencer, have you ever thought like they would be really cool to work with, because of their perception online, or how they carry themselves?

Rachel:             That is such a good question. I mean, obviously the Kardashians come to mind, because it’s just like …

Michel:            All right. Which one of them? There’s like a little country of them now it seems like.

Rachel:             Well, I’m thinking like, cause Kylie’s the most expensive, Kendall just got paid that 250 to promote Fyre Festival, 250,000, and then Kim, I mean, she’s like a legend in that world. She’s like the first selfie influencer.

Michel:            What about Rob?

Rachel:             Rob would be a nightmare. I’d be like, ‘Can you answer my phone call?’ I’d be so scared, I’d like, wire him the money, and be like, ‘I hope that he does it’. No way, although Kris would hopefully, hopefully.

Rachel:             God, who would be interesting? I mean, Tekashi 6ix9ine is in jail, but you know that if he promoted something, it would fly off the shelves. People would be like, ‘Oh, it’s so cool, and it’s in the culture.’

Michel:            The first thing that he promoted coming out of jail. That would be a big egg, some company would pay a quarter million bucks today? You could find a company to do that, right?

Rachel:             I think he could probably demand, yeah, yeah. Actually I would say that, a quarter million would be about right. I think they’re even higher now to be honest. I think Kim is going to be asking you for at least a million.

Michel:            Per post.

Rachel:             Yeah.

Michel:            That’s insane. We, or I am in the wrong business frankly. You are in the right business. Guys, thank you so much for joining us. Everything that we talked about, the statistics, the links, are going to be in the comments section. Thank you so much for your attention, Rachel, where do people find you?

Rachel:             Pretty simple. I have two first names, so Rachel, my last name’s David, and that’s on everything. Yeah.

Michel:            Rachel David.

Rachel:             Thank you.

Michel:            Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed the interview with Rachel David. I’m absolutely committed to giving you education on three very important topics: Customer experience, employee engagement, and company culture. If you want some more of that information, click the subscribe button right now, so you can be alerted when I release my next video. I’ll see you next time.

3 Employee Engagement Training Strategies

 

In this video I’m going to share three employee engagement training strategies that I use in my business. I know that they work so I’m confident that they’re going to work for you too.

If you prefer to read over watching my video, check out the transcript below!

The first is how your employee onboarding strategy has been built out.

A lot of companies don’t have an employee onboarding strategy and it is the best opportunity to be able to increase employee engagement on day one of the employee’s tenure with the company.

Use this opportunity not just to train your new team member but to engage them into your people first culture.

The second employee engagement strategy is something that I call breakfast and jam.

It’s when I will meet with a team member on a weekly basis where we have breakfast together and we talk about what ever they want to talk about.

One thing I ask them is, are you looking for advice or you’re looking for someone to listen because that is the role that I will play as the host of our breakfast and jam sessions.

Now you can call your sessions whatever you want, but my greatest recommendation is ensure that it happens on a weekly basis.

That way you always have your finger on the pulse and you’re always reinforcing how important employee engagement is to your company.

The third employee engagement strategy is employee intelligence and gifting.

When you meet with your team members and you learn something about them, document that intelligence. So let’s say you’re meeting with Samantha. You’re high performing salesperson.

If she happens to tell you that she grew up in Philadelphia and was a huge Allen Iverson Fan, make note of that and within your operating budget, I allow yourself to be able to purchase something like signed Allen Iverson shoes.

Imagine what that would do to her engagement and her performance, which would serve the company in a positive way.

Now, I’m not recommending that the budget has to be huge, but make it something. Maybe it’s a $20 gift or maybe you can afford something a bit more than that.

Whatever it is, take the employee intelligence and do some gifting and watch your employee engagement skyrocket.

There you have it! Those are my three employee engagement training strategies.

If you want to know where you can get even more strategies and processes that have worked, go pick up a copy of my book, head over to Amazon.

There’s a link below where you can buy some copies for your team.

Now, before you go subscribe to my youtube channel so that you’re alerted when I released my next video.

Go in the comments section and let me know which strategy you think you’re going to be able to implement in 2019 and visit my website, michelfalcon.com to learn about the employee engagement training workshops that I host for companies around the world.

Thank you so much, and I’m definitely gonna see you next time…right?!

Customer Experience Keynote Speaker: Customer Service vs Customer Experience

Hey Team,

I’m excited to share my Customer Experience Keynote presentation that I shot in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida. In addition to sharing company culture, employee engagement & customer experience strategies, I also explain the difference between customer service and customer experience.

Watch it above OR read the transcript below!

Good afternoon. I picked up on two things right away.

The first was, it’s with a lot of expectation and excitement, so thank you.

Um, second, I’m a profit driven entrepreneur.

I just go about it a different way and now you’ve recognized them Canadian by the way that I said about, I’m sure. Uh, I am based in Toronto. I spent most of my life, uh, in Vancouver, uh, and hospitality is the industry out of every industry that I could have dove into.

That was the one that I decided, which probably will end my life sooner than it should. Um, my expertise is threefold. Company culture, employee engagement and customer experience.

It’s my responsibility with my fork to my partners and to our business and our community to build strategies that will make those three things help grow our business. So why did, uh, Theresa, um, select me as your speaker when we first spoke?

I’m in hospitality and industry that could not be any more different than yours, but I, I believe in perhaps you could say a word or two after, during Q and. A, there’s two key reasons. The first is if we strip away what industry that we operate within, the common denominator that we have is that we’re trying to manage human behavior within the workplace and outside of the workplace being our vendors, our business partners, and of course our customers.

The second reason is I believe that if these strategies have proven to work in such a volatile industry that is hospitality, I believe that it’ll work for you as well too. I’ve leveraged the strategies that I’m going to share with you in industries such as telecom, automotive, biotech, uh, some, some different industries that aren’t extraordinarily people first perhaps. But again, if we strip that all away, we have some commonalities.

What I’m going to share with you today is I’m going to introduce you to the people first culture and three p strategy. I’m going to share what customer personality types are cause I do not believe you can deliver the same experience to every single customer the exact same way. That’s the furthest thing away from delivering a personalized experience, which gets away from earning true loyalty. I’m going to have a conversation with you and this is where I’m going to ask you to really think about the behaviors of your customers and anyone that interacts with your brand. Because we’re going to talk about wants versus needs. Now here’s a little tip. If you do not want me to pick on you by asking you to chat with me in front of your colleagues, don’t look me in the eye. Uh, cause if I see eyes on me, then it’s telling me that you want me to engage you.

Uh, so there’s a tip, but hopefully your eyes don’t divert when, uh, when we get to that part. I did not grow up in the hospitality industry. As a matter of fact, my father, when I was in highschool, operated a restaurant and a, and unfortunately it made them file for bankruptcy. Um, it’s a tough industry and I could never have imagined that I would have gotten an industry knowing what I know of the industry as a child of somebody that had to file for bankruptcy because of an industry that chewed them up and spat and, righto. So allow me the first couple of moments, um, to share my backstory with you and I do this so that I can build some rapport with you so that hopefully you think you know what? He gets it right. He understands behavior in the workplace and outside of the workplace.

My career started in 2007 as a call center agent in my early twenties. Working for an organization that you might be familiar with if you’ve ever seen blue trucks driving around, perhaps your city. And on the side of them in big letters, it says 1-800-GOT-JUNK. Pretty familiar. How many people are not familiar? Oh, great. Well, the company, uh, to give you some more information is one of the true great entrepreneurial success success stories in North America. One gentleman had a pickup truck in 1989 and would knock on your door and say, do you want me to get rid of any stuff that you no longer want in your home? Uh, an ex husband, uh, uh, Fredj a couch. But then it grew to what today? A quarter billion dollars a year in sales. So when I, and the great thing about this is no outside capitol, zero debt. One owner I true, true business.

I was in business school before I joined 100 got junk because I wanted to learn how to grow a company. So I went to business school and unfortunately I’m not an academic. I, I didn’t really make it a, and I didn’t come from a wealthy family, so I needed to pay for my own schooling. So a year went by a couple of semesters I was like, this is not working. What’s an alternative plan? So I uh, in Vancouver, the two great companies then, uh, we’re 1-800-GOT-JUNK and Lulu Lemon, the athletic a retail company. So I interviewed for both and I got offers for both and I decided that it was going to be 1-800-GOT-JUNK largely because they were doing this already culture engagement experience. It was a part of the DNA of the company back then. Even before anybody even said the words, customer experience management, they were leveraging that to grow their company.

Not only that, they had just won Canada’s best workplace, like for the entire country, a medium sized organization going up against multibillion dollar companies. So I said, I’m going to do this. I’m going to start off in the ground floor, worked my way up and hopefully one day start that business that I wanted. So the hardest part was telling my South American mother, I very traditional, you go to school, you finish it, that I was leaving university to go work for a garbage company. Um, that, that wasn’t a hard conversation. Uh, that was a hard conversation. Pardon me? But, um, if you asked her today, I think she would agree that it was the right thing for me to do. I joined, worked in the call center, answered a hundred calls a day for about a year, five days a week. Now that’s actually not the hardest part, the hardest part.

And the, uh, the majority of the calls came from the US because that was where the biggest footprint was for the company. The hardest part was answering the phone and convincing you great American people that a man can actually be named Michelle. It literally the first two or three minutes of the conversation was like, yes, Gladys in Florida. Um, so I recognize that you’re not my therapist, so I’ll, I’ll stop it right there. But, um, I, truth be told, I actually had one of the largest average handle times in the call center and I swear I, I pinpoint it to that I wasn’t going to be a call center guy forever. So I transitioned into the operations management side of the company at this point. I’m in about my mid twenties reporting to the VP of finance and I gave myself to my career. I knew what I wanted to, to do a one day and I knew that I couldn’t just sit on my hands and I was introduced to a topic called customer experience management.

And again, nobody was really talking about this back then, but there were emerging companies like zappos.com and of course Starbucks, that we’re leveraging these strategies. And I said, you know what? This is going to be my niche. This is what I’m going to, I’m in America Niche, um, and this is what I’m going to leverage to build companies. I did not know what industry just yet, but I knew that was going to be the topic. I transitioned outside of the company and then I started, uh, an advisory firm. I thought, uh, I would go help companies on their people for strategies. I hadn’t coined the phrase just yet, but anything customer, employee related, uh, I would want to build strategies for them. So I started off working with companies that did less than a million dollars in sales, like micro micro companies, just anybody I would work with, anybody that had to check that wouldn’t bounce pretty much.

But then Verizon wireless called and said, will you help us build training materials for western western region for a retail, uh, stores? And I said, I didn’t even know how to write a proposal. I thought this to myself. I better figure it out. And then blue cross blue shield and Mcdonald’s and so forth. And that told me that companies of all industries of all sizes are now starting to figure this out. That culture matters, employee engagement matters. And of course the outcome from that is having a great customer experience, not just one that is great for your industry, but an experience that your customers have never seen before. I’m going to mention a phrase called R and D and I don’t mean research and development. I mean rip off and duplicate and I know it sounds shameless, but I spend a lot of time studying companies, not in my industry and I’m going to share some examples from companies that I think you can learn from as well too, but when you learn from a great company, ask yourself, could we be doing this as well too, and then put your own spin on it so it becomes a part of Deco.

Today I operate a hospitality organization. We went from zero employees, $0 million in revenue to just over 15 million and 150 employees in just under two years. The strategies that I share with you today is what has helped us keep the train on the track because that is tremendous growth and we expected it because we operate in Toronto, one of the largest cities in North America. We operate on a King Street, arguably one of the most competitive streets for hospitality. Have you been to King Street? Oh, no way. That’s awesome as well. We’ll have a beer after. Um, so these are the strategies we’re going to share. I’m not a theory guy, right? I didn’t want to write the book until I had case studies in my own right. I wanted to cut my teeth so that I could stand before you and say look these work whether it’s in my industry, perhaps yours or other ones cause I don’t have enough confidence to stand in front of an audience like this and talk about things that I had not leveraged in my own career.

One thing that I know very well is that we don’t know the difference between customer service and customer experience and I don’t mean to offend anybody when I say that. I just have been at this long enough that people don’t know that they key points where it differs within my organization. This is how we train our team members. Regardless of your position, whether you are customer facing or not. My finance team goes through this seam, customer centric training that my hostesses and bartenders do because if we want to create alignment behind building a people first culture, any, everyone must go through the same training to create that alignment. But also you never know where your next great strategy is going to come from. Dishwashers, I finance team, they are have a role in being able to help us build this organization. Customer service, our actions within the customer experience.

So if you go to the grocery store and pay for your banana is your milk and your loaf of bread, the person that’s helping you pay is delivering them customer service. That’s an action within the entire customer experience. Customer experience is the discovery, design and deployment of the interaction within a customer journey. So think about when you go to the movie theaters, every single one of those interactions that happen to go into the bathroom, the concession stand, parking your car, logging into the APP to purchase your tickets, getting your ticket scanned. Those are all interactions within the entire customer journey. The reason why customer experience is so difficult for some organizations is because those interactions can be managed by different departments. And if we are not aligned, if we do not view the customer experience from the same Lens, then how on earth are we able to discover, design and deploy strategy that’s going to impact our customers positively? Those are three things that we’re going to talk about today. I want to be able to leave you with some information to get you thinking about how can we discover our customers’ wants and needs? How can we design so that we remove pain points from our customer journey because these pain points are harming your customer loyalty. And then lastly, what do you, how do you deploy this?

Every organization would love to do this, have recruit, interview and onboard a high performing team that has high engagement to take care of their customers since the beginning of time. This is everything that we’ve wanted, but why isn’t it that all companies don’t have this? Why is it as consumers, we go to a restaurant or a hotel or a printing shop and we get a bad experience? I created something called the people first culture about a year and a half ago, and it’s defined by building a business your and employees will admire. But then I sat on this more. I said, why is it that we’re not all doing this now? There’s several reasons. One, leadership is the leadership. Truly people first, are they truly people centric? But then I, I, I put something together. I called the three p strategy and this is how we operate our hospitality company. This is how I’ve helped Alfa Romeo and companies like that operate as well too. The three p strategy, purpose, process and profit. It’s what hinges everything together so that an organization can become people first. So let’s do this now with the three p strategy. We recruit, we interview when we on board high performing individuals. We understand the purpose of three key entities that what is the purpose of our company? What is the purpose of our customers and what is the purpose of us not as employees, not as a team on the individual level. Because each and every one of you probably have a different purpose.

Okay?

Once we were able to understand what the purpose of those three entities we are going to achieve engagement. It’s organically going to happen pieces we’ve created this alignment. Once we have that engagement, now we shouldn’t be building systems and processes to be able to serve each other and our customers because often, have you ever led a team before in your career and you built this strategy and you knew it was gonna work, but then it didn’t because people weren’t engaged before you created the strategy? We didn’t have that alignment first. Once we’re able to build these processes, now we’re going to be able to create an experience for our customers that they’ve never seen before. The outcome of that is loyalty. The reward is profit. Like I said, I am an absolutely profit driven entrepreneur and professional. What do you think I do when I get my weekly P and l? Go right to the bottom and see if it’s red or green. I’m fearful that some professionals and entrepreneurs are going about this. The venn diagram the wrong way. Yes, we are in this for a profit. Yes, we are in this for sales commissions and hitting our KPIs, but are we living quarter over quarter or rebuilding the business year over year, decade over a decade.

Nike’s purposes to stand for things that they believe in, whether it’s popular or not. We all may have seen earlier this year, late last year, people were burning their shoes because they didn’t believe what Nike believed in. But Nike’s, that is Nike’s purpose. The outcome is that they build great products and they are market leader. Here’s the company, I’m guarantee you’ve never heard of. It’s Pela case. They’re based in Saskatchewan. I would never heard of or neither and I would give somebody 10 bucks right now if they could spell it. It’s hard. Um, what are you looking at? There is a biodegradable cell phone case. Their purpose is to not harm the earth. Matt Petula, he is the founder of the company. Somebody I know very well. And when I asked him about this, he said, I just want to create products that consumers love, but I don’t want to harm the earth.

They will create other products. But they’ve turned this company into a multimillion dollar organization in a short period of time because they’re serving a growing community of consumers that label themselves zero wasters, this community of people. And at first I was like, what is there like eight people? But apparently that’s not true. Apparently there’s like hundreds of thousands of individuals that will only purchase products like this that won’t harm the earth. Their purpose is to not harm the earth has an organization. The outcome is great products. The purpose of my companies embedded within the mission, this is one of our flagship. This is our flagship location within our portfolio. Our mission at borrow is simple. Take, consistently deliver seamless experiences. It’s not to have the best food or the best cocktail is to consistently deliver seamless experiences. Now I noticed that I didn’t say seamless Kevin Spirit, uh, seamless experiences to our customers. I just put a period after. It’s too everyone customers that purchased the company that sells us our meat supplies

or alcohol are

investors, are bank representatives. Even if we pay them. I had this challenge early in my career be like, and I’m paraphrasing, but a gentleman said to me, why should I care? Why should I be the one delivering the experience to the company that I pay? And I’m like, Oh man, I got to rewire your whole DNA. Treat everyone like that. High paying customer. Treat everyone like that person that comes in and orders a thousand a thousand dollars bottle of wine. Because if we find ourselves only treating our best customers a certain way, then are we truly authentic as an organization?

What is the purpose of our customers? Each customer of yours has a different definition of success. When I was working within the call center of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, I recognize that I couldn’t speak to the customer in Florida the same way that I spoke to the customer in Sydney, Australia or the one in Victoria, British Columbia. So I started documenting all these notes sitting in my cubicle and just wrote on these behaviors and traits. Eventually I gathered pages and pages and pages of notes and I said, I’m going to codify this. I want to build a framework around this because I know that I can’t deliver the same experience to every single customer. So I created something that I call the three common customer types. Now the word customer can be interchangeable. It could be any, anyone that interacts with your brand. If you deal with a bank representative, tried to enter a understand their personality type.

I take my finance team through this as well too and I talk about the finance team specifically cause often when I work with companies they don’t include the finance team into this content. I was like, no, they interact with people that you were trying to build a relationship with. You must include them this information and give them this superior content. So the first, I do not know her personally, but if you’ve ever watched her show, she’s energetic, she’s upbeat, her conversations go on and on and on and on. Often they are off topic. So I’ve labeled this person to socialize your personality type. What do you think the biggest threat is in doing business with this personality type? He’s got an idea. He looked me dead in the eye. So

figuring it clearly enough, stay on task and you get off on different things. You may never,

exactly, they’re over here and you need them over here, but you can’t interject in a rude way or else they’re going to be. That’s going to be very off putting to them. You have to be able to find what I call your out. When I was coaching, um, Volkswagen salespeople on the customer personality types, they said, how do we get out of these conversations? Like I’m biting the side of my cheek. Me Like, Dear God, I don’t care about your dog. I just want to get to business. But of course you can’t say that. So I said, you got to find your out. So for the Volkswagen individual, I said, if that person is talking to you about how they love skiing and they can’t wait to go to whistler mountain in Canada, well maybe that’s your hope by saying if you love skiing and you go to the mountains often, maybe you need a Turig, right? You’ve got to find your way to organically get that customer where you need them to be. Who likes doing business with this customer? If they could do this business with this customer each and every day, uh, who would prefer to do so? Just anybody really enjoyed doing business with this person? Nobody. Yeah. Okay. Thank you. How come

have a relationship with it? Creating loyalty? Yeah. First of all, connect unites. Do

they give you so much what I call customer intelligence. They will tell you everything about their entire life and you can use that to build a rapport with them. More on that in a moment. But you are absolutely right. I don’t know Daniel Craig personally, but if he’s anything like James Bond, don’t talk to them about the local sports team and the, whether they’re just going to walk right all over you. They want to get to business. They’re very black and white. They want to lead the experience. You’re going to have to follow them as opposed to the socializer. The socializer will allow you to say, allow you to be like, come me. Let me, let me walk you through this experience or this individual wants to lead the experience. If you do not know your product knowledge with this personality type, they’re going to walk right over you and either go speak to your, asked to speak to somebody else or God forbid, they’re going to ask to speak to another company. I your competitor.

Okay.

What do you think one of the advantageous things in doing business with this personality type would be?

Who’s got an answer for me? Okay.

Very easy to read this person. It’s almost like you just have to sit quietly and just let him or her give you the info and then you get straight into work mode. Okay? The last is the passive. Now, the best way for me to describe this personality type is if you’ve ever asked somebody, hey Theresa, how’s your day going? And truces like good, and just walks away. I’m like, what about my day? Right now? Some people might be like, oh, this person is low energy, boring, not a engaging. I caution you. They may actually have a front because maybe your company or industry has wrong than before so they don’t trust you. They have a guard up. However, what I have found is that if you are able to build rapport with this personality type and they bring their guard down, they can be some of your greatest advocates and some of your most loyal customers.

They’ve just been written off by so many companies that they don’t really trust many organizations. The three common personality types is something that you can even correlate to email. This isn’t just on the phone or offline or offline. If you get an email from somebody that’s two sentences a couple of times, so that same person, you probably have the director’s style personality type on your hand. You don’t want to give them a long paragraph like that. Whereas if you get one of these, you probably have a socializer. Try not to give them two sentences back cause they might find that route or off. Put it. Being able to understand different personality types and understanding what makes one customer tick and what ticks off another customer is absolutely imperative to be able to create a personalized experience not just for your customers but also for your colleagues, your vendors or business partners and anyone who interacts with the brand.

Okay.

What does the team, what is your team’s purpose now I’m going to break that down to what is your purpose as an individual? Food and wine magazine is the Vogue magazine of hospitality and they wrote about one of our uh, locations in Toronto and the title speaks for itself on Toronto restaurant is revolutionizing employee retention.

Hospitality is known as a very transient industry, high turnover which eats that margins and profitability because you’re always having to recruit and interview and train and train and onboard. Going into this industry, I knew that this was going to be a challenge, so I asked myself what are some things that we can do to manage this pain point, but not just managing the pain point, but also creating an experience for our employees that they’ve never seen before. Because the outcome of that is high engagement, productivity, better sales, better marketing, all that good stuff. More profit.

Okay.

One thing that I coached my management teams on is if you have a direct report, whether it’s one, three or five people, it is your responsibility as their leader to understand what their purposes. So if I have an individual on my team, her name is Christina [inaudible], she started off as a server, worked her way up and is now on a management management level. I, her purpose is to continue to grow within our company and be the director of learning and development. I’ve told her direct report, you better get her there. That is now your responsibility as a servant leader. Servant leadership is something that I’ve been studying for years. Servant leadership and benevolent leadership. Servant leadership. It’s in the title you serve your team. They don’t serve you. Benevolent leadership is the opposite of Gordon Ramsay’s management style. Okay. Um, and

my industry has been given me, has given me so many challenges, ones that I welcomed cause I like to solve big challenges. But picture having a team of 150 people where the far majority of them are used to being belittled and berated by poor leadership. We’re trying to do different things differently by being benevolent and by being servants with our leadership style. Christina Perry hard wants to be the director of learning development. We will get her there, but if another team member, Jordan Lopez, who was our marketing manager, came to me and said, one day, I want one company essentially telling me I’m going to leave you one day. I’m okay with that as well too, because if we’re able to pave a path for great professionals during their time with the organization, they’re going to give themselves to the company. They’re going to help you succeed as their leader and not only that, they’re going to recruit people to come join, join you with your company.

I have individuals within my company that are studying to be dentists and lawyers and and many other great professions, but for the individuals in the room that have team members that want to grow within the organization and I’m certain you do, it is your responsibility as their servant leader to get them there and give them the coaching, the guidance and the resources. Pave a path for them and allow yourself as the leader to take a step back and let them do. Let great people do great work. That is what a people first culture looks like.

So what have we done? We’ve recruited revinia reviewed revolve board at a high performing team. We’ve understood the purpose of the company, the customers and each other as individuals. Now we’re going to achieve that engagement. Productivity is high, absenteeism is low, sales are high and all great things that come with high employee engagement. Let’s build some systems and processes now so that these engaged professionals can live within the people first culture. We have 20 operational strategies that are operating behind the scenes. I’m not going to take you through all 20. I want to take you through two to one on the employee side and one on the customer side. I’ve a rule within our management team. It’s an 80, 20 rule. I want 80% of your time focused on building strategic initiatives to serve our employees and maintain their employee engagement. I don’t think you can recruit and onboard engaged people, people and engage them.

You have to recruit and onboard, engaged individuals and maintain their motivation. It’s hard to engage somebody that’s just kind of sits on their hands. So when you go through the recruiting process and when you’re interviewing individuals, you have to be able to pinpoint whether these people are extraordinarily engaged to be able to serve your customers and help you hit your KPIs and your sales goals. The employee advisory board is the program that I am asked about the most after somebody reads my book. I just, uh, uh, today is Monday. Uh, last week I was in London. Um, speaking for century link, that telecommunications company there, and this is the thing that they gravitated to a toward the most picture this every month for four hours, I will sit down with one member from every single department. There’s a team of people that are democratically elected by their peers, one dishwasher, one bartender, one server, one line cook and so forth.

And they meet with me for four hours and we talk about two key things. The first I ask them what is the current state of our company culture? And second, what is the current state of our customer experience? They are representatives of their departments, so crowdsource information from their peers and bring it to the table. These meetings are off the record so everyone can speak freely. That gives me the information that I need to continuously refine the experience that we deliver to our employees and our customers. Not only that, what are some other positive outcomes? We as a leader and as for the leaders in the room here, it can’t just be up to us to build all the strategies. We must be able to go a couple layers below and speak to the individuals that are working within the business just like us and help facilitate what I call cross learning.

So this, every time I leave this meeting, I feel reenergized I have new ideas. Not all ideas get executed on it cause I’m like, Joey, that’s going to cost us like 1.7, $6 million to do that. Let’s try to go back to the drawing board with like 2% of that budget. Um, after the meeting, I will go to my management team and say, Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the feedback that I’ve gotten. Is there any validity to this? And our management team, one of our core values as a company is ownership. We want to own our responsibilities. So far, our management team will say, you know what? The Eab there, right? We haven’t done this in a long time. We need to fix this. But there’ll be times where they’ll also say, well, they’ll say, yes, I understand why they’re saying this, but these are the reasons why.

Sometimes our frontline employees don’t really see the mechanics that happened behind the scenes, but then I have to bring that information back to them. So to build an employee advisory board, these are some of the steps that we follow. One member from each department meets with a senior leader, and that’s myself. We host monthly meetings between two and four hours. It always ends up being closer toward the four hour mark. We discuss customer experience, pain points, and customer centric culture with the goal of developing quarterly operational improvement plans. How would some companies deliver great experiences year over year? And these are the Starbucks like companies, the Zappos great hotels. One service level agreement that I have within my business to ensure that we’re always inventing experiences is we will create three operational improvement plans per quarter. So every three months now they don’t have to be grand or expensive improvement plans.

We May, uh, just last quarter, at the end of last year we said, you know what, our survey response rates for net promoter score is down. How many people are familiar with net promoter score? Yup. Great. So it’s a way that we survey our customers, the percentage had dip and we said, you know what, we need to do something to get that Kpi heading in the right direction, whether they’re big or smaller initiatives always be inventing because the moment that we start building processes for that engaged team to work within that is when behavior starts changing. Unless you believe that the behaviors and the expectations of your customers and employees will never stop evolving, then you don’t need to continue to build all these strategies. But the fact of the matter is, is customers and, and blow employee behaviors are always changing and evolving.

Has Anybody heard of the company called Warby Parker is so glasses. Okay. These glasses or Warby Parker, seven years ago, they didn’t exist. Uh, today they’re worth several billion dollars in valuation. I Luxotica is an into an Italian manufacturer of eyewear or there’s Luxotica nope. Um, and they are the company that produces that I wear for like Hugo boss, Chanel Oakley. Every single major brand goes to this company called Luxotica. There were $15 billion, even greater. They own lenscrafters. They own the entire market. Warby Parker eight years ago did not exist and now they are kind of nipping at the feet of this massive, massive Italian company by having great product. But by also being people first. Um, micro customer experience is something that I’m helping companies deploy within their organization. Now, a micro customer experience is defined by a subtle, memorable and affordable gesture that you do for someone that interacts with your brand, whether it’s a customer, a vendor, or a business partner.

In Atlanta, Georgia. A customer orders a pair of glasses for more be Parker online. She goes to the nearest retail location in the buck head. Region of Atlanta, walks in the door, is greeted by that friendly employee. The employees is, how’s your day going? The customer says, not so good. I got my car stolen last night. I could really use a beer. But I’m excited because I’m here to pick up my glasses. The employee does what we always tell employees to do. Show empathy. She does, helps the customer on with her glasses. Two days later, the customer receives this and a male. It’s a handwritten note from Warby Parker from that same employee, Hey, test, we are so sorry to hear about your car since you probably won’t be the designated driver anytime soon. Here’s around on us. Love your friends or Warby Parker. Ps, you’re Duran frames look amazing and inside that postcard, an envelope is a $25 gift certificate to a local microbrewery so that customer could get that beer that she said she wanted in passing in a microsecond.

She said, I could really use a beer. I’ve stopped telling my entire team of 150 individuals to stop listening to your customers. We’ve been telling her team to listen to customers for decades. The problem with that is listening is a very cheap skillset. Listen and take action on what you have heard. We talked about customer intelligence with the socializer personality type, right? They’re going to give you tons of information. Whether it’s a director or a passive or a socializer. They are sharing information with you on a daily basis and I’m afraid that at times it falls on deaf ears. We have to take these moments and be able to create an experience that these customers have never seen before. What is the return on investment here? What is the profit of doing things like this one? This customer is only is only going to buy frames from Warby Parker for the next few years, maybe even more. This customer is probably going to refer two or three friends to Warby Parker and probably tell 10 people that’s called organic growth. Organic growth is defined by the revenue that is earned through repeat customers or referral based marketing. It’s the best and profitable way to grow because it doesn’t cost a lot of money to be able to facilitate that purchase. You earned it by delivering a micro customer experience

business inside your.com mashable.com and the Huffington post.com three websites that collectively received tens of millions of page views per month wrote about this story for a company to get their story written about. In those three websites, you would have to pay a PR company tens of thousands of dollars per month to be able to get your story told. If you want your customers to talk about your company, you have to be willing to do things worth talking about and these are the things that you must leverage to be able to create that experience your customers have never seen before and how was this all achieved? This was achieved by having a people first culture professional within your business, listening and taking action, and let’s call it $28 including postage.

Okay?

I want to introduce you to somebody named Alyssa. Alyssa was working at one of our venues serving brunch one day and she put the micro customer experience program into action to earn us Google and Facebook reviews, customer loyalty and employee engagement. Alyssa serves a table of ladies and Alyssa learns that the reason that these ladies are here brunching is because one of them’s about to have a child and this is probably to be the last time that these three or four friends are going to be able to come together and be with each other. I listed takes that customer intelligence. There’s a woman here that is just about to have a child runs to the hostess stand. The host is runs across the street to shoppers drug mart, which is your Walgreens equivalent, comes back with a box of 50 diapers are rattle and and and the rattle will probably drive this mother nuts, but in theory the gift, giftings, good and wrapping paper, the customer or the hostess comes back, wraps the precedent time gives it to Alyssa. Alyssa hands it to the guest before time of billing and says, thank you for being a guest of ours. We can’t wait for you to celebrate your newborn child. That is an experience that that customer has never seen before in hospitality and that is how we are winning. We’re willing to do the things that our competitors wouldn’t even think of doing.

Yeah.

What is the Roi of this? That woman, we’ll, we’ll come back after she’s had her child and she wants a night out. She’ll come back. So there’s that organic growth repeat customers. The ladies at that table, they’ll come back as well to all of them will tell a few people. That’s just plain old good business.

Okay.

The partner of that woman coming home with this big box, but mean like I thought you were going to brunch will say, where did you get that gift? And this goes to something I call owning the dinner table. It’s a chapter in my book and essentially it’s, I want to create experiences for customers and employees that are so strong and so memorable that when that individual goes back to their home and sits for dinner with their family, they’re talking about that experience owning the dinner table. And these are the things that we must do with our customers, our employees, our community, and our business.

Okay.

The thing that often is misunderstood about it. Leasings is my team loves delivering these experiences. It increases their engagement, it allows them to release endorphins and that allows them to be productive and sell better and serve better collectively are um, hospitality group. We’ll do just over $15 million a year in sales. What do you think our monthly budget is for doing gestures like this? System wide every month on 15 million. Throw out some numbers. 200. Okay. 1,000. Okay. One more guess. Any? Anybody think it’s more than a thousand? Yes. How much do you think it might be?

Hold on one,

it’s actually only 500. Could I make it a lot more? Absolutely. The bigger the budget, the less creativity. We’re just going to be handing out balls and dom Perignon to every other guests. That’s not memorable. It’s not though, right? Like I like flowers I, those things are good and they still work and we still do them. But our competitors can replicate that. The smaller the budget, the better for the bottom line, but the more creative the team member has to get. So when you’re thinking about these gestures that you can do for your customers, you don’t have to be like, well where are we going to get the budget? There’s a lot of pride and joy that you can get as being a professional and finding a solution to something that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

We’ve done a lot, we’ve earned profit, not just profit quarter of recording, but if we’re doing these things, it’s profit year over year and if the company is profitable and growing and expanding, then there’s probably going to be room and opportunities for advancement within the company. Maybe you’re not all shareholders of your organization. My hundred 50 team members aren’t shareholders of my company. So how do I speak to them? How do I bring up the word profit to them? And that’s how I, that’s how I phrase it. As if we as a company are profitable and thriving, well then there’s going to be more opportunity for company events like this, more learning and development opportunities. Perhaps even more opportunity for advancements and promotions. Cause once we opened up the next venues, we’re going to need more managers. And I want to promote from within before I find somebody external, but for the cynics in the room, if there is any, this is how I talk about profit and the outcomes of having a people first culture.

Starting with an improved customer experience, there’s an increasing customer loyalty, which means that you have the opportunity to spend less money on marketing if you so choose. I’m not telling you to do so, but if you so choose. When’s the last time you saw a Starbucks TV commercial? Never. I’m paraphrasing, but Howard Schultz said something pretty profound and again I’m paraphrasing, but he said people think we are a great tradition, a great advertising company, but we actually don’t invest in traditional advertising at all. What we do is take that resource and within our training and development so that our team members can deliver a great experience. That is our marketing. That’s happens if you have less marketing expenses. If you so choose, then there’s more profit for the organization. If you have repeat customers, that’s more sales, but that’s more predictable sales. If you know that you have high customer loyalty and repeat customers, then you know customers are going to renew their contracts with you and make other purchases. Or in my uh, in my world perhaps you’ll come twice a week instead of once a week there’ll be a decrease in refunds and discounts, which means that there’s more profit, there’s brand admiration. So perhaps free PR and free marketing like Warby Parker achieved. And then something that I advocate the most within my organization and its make price secondary. We are in the premium space in Toronto. So you wouldn’t come to us for $12 steak. That’s not us. But how were we going to charge what we need to charge to hit our margins

and make sure that customers feel like they got a lot of value and not be like, oh I can’t believe I spent that much. It’s by leading with a great customer experience, one that our customers have never seen before. On the employee side, less employee turnover means manageable training costs, which means more profit for the organization, which will fuel the company to thrive and grow. Employee loyalty. If there’s loyalty within the organization, more often than not there’s alignment department to Department.

Yeah,

and then higher productivity, higher sales, less mistakes. Again, more profit. I told you at the beginning of the talk that I do believe in building a profitable company. It’s just my way of going about it is a little differently. It’s because I want to be in business for decades and I look at some of these organizations that are operating quarter of recorder. I just, I told you I just got back from London and the company that I spoke for, I spoke with one of their senior executives after and he opened up to me and said, we have a long way to go because we need to rewire the DNA of this company. We are living quarter of recorder.

Okay,

how can we discover building a better customer experience? Two things that I focus on with my management team is what do customers want and what do they need? On the surface, it can seem like there are two, one in the same, but they’re actually different. I want you to think of what your customers for a moment and if I met you at an airport and you told me what you did and I asked you a very loaded question, I said, what do your customers want from you? How would you answer that question? Could I ask, you know, you don’t know what your customers want, what they want. So what did they say?

Great experience. Oh, sweet. Okay, cool. David, what are your customers want? They want low cost solution. Okay. Teresa are your customer innovation innovation

solutions. Okay. Okay. Customers are very good at telling you what they want.

Okay.

We are not very good at consumer as consumers in telling our customers what they need, what we need because we do not know what we need until it’s been presented to us. First case in point, when I surveyed,

yeah,

but a thousand, uh, consumers in the hospitality space, this is what they told me they were what they wanted. They wanted value, they wanted seamlessness, so they wanted to headache free experience. I want to book my reservation. I want to be seated at the right time and so forth. I want solutions to, I want solutions to what I want. I’m hungry, I’m parched, I want to drink, I want to be entertained, and then they won’t confidence, which I call consumer confidence. They won’t confidence in the company that they do business with that they’re going to have very little headaches. Then when I asked them what they need, this is what I got because customers aren’t very good at telling you what they need until it’s presented. Before the iPod was invented, who owned an MP? Three player to listen to their music. Okay. Do you remember going from song one to 50 you had to like hold your thumb down until it turned a different color.

That was literally a hurtful customer experience, so we wouldn’t have been a very good test market. If Steve Jobs had asked us, what do you need from your music listening pleasures, because we probably would have said something like, give me an MP, three player that holds 5,000 songs and give it to me in different colors. That’s not invention. That’s an iteration of what was currently on the marketplace. What we needed was the scroll wheel. It got us to song 50 but like that, not like this. That is a better user experience. Would you and I have, would we have been able to said, hey, yeah, just Steve jobs. Give me a scroll wheel. No, of course not. But that’s what we needed to enhance the experience for us and this was the product that brought apple back to the market.

I’m going to tell you this story in a different way. We’ve heard this story, so I’m not going to be cliche. I do not believe Netflix put blockbuster out of business because of the technology. The technology was an outcome of having a people first culture at Netflix because at Netflix they give their employees the freedom. One of their core values is employee freedom to be inventive and during that of invention and innovation, they determined that how we are going to beat blockbuster is by focusing on what customers need and what we need as consumers is our time back. Remember when we would go rent a video from blockbuster? That experience was like this. Hey Sweetheart, do you want to watch your movie? Sure. Let’s go and drive 15 minutes and there’s blockbuster park our car or walk into the store and have to dodge like little kids down the aisles.

I know this because I was one of those little kids and then we have to look at these DVDs, another 1520 minutes in the store. Then we go line up for another five or 10 minutes and then we drive back home for another 15 or 20 minutes. It’s been over an hour. We sit down, we watched a movie for an hour and a half. God forbid we don’t rewind the VHS tape or I’ll say they charge us an extra dollar. Then we have to drive back another 15 to 20 minutes to drop it off and they come back. That’s two or three hours to watch a movie. That’s an hour and a half. Netflix recognize that time was the game and going like this is better than going like this and that is why they won. Would we have been able to tell Netflix? Yeah, this is what I need a streaming service. Like No. Now we’re like, oh yeah, of course I needed that. Yeah, I could’ve told you that. Well then why didn’t we invent it?

Has anybody eaten at sweet green? Has anybody heard of sweet green? No. No, no, no. Perfect. Allow me to introduce you. Uh, 10 years ago they had zero locations. Today they’re worth hundreds of millions and have over a hundred locations throughout the u s in about a handful of states. If sweet green asked me, Michelle, what do you want? And they are in the healthy fast food space, bowls, warm bowls and salads. If they said, Michelle, what do you want? What do you need? I would have been like, don’t charge or don’t charge me extra for Guacamole. It’s not very inventive. Starting this year they have connected their APP and integrated blockchain technology to their supply chain. So if you go to sweet green and you order one of their bowls and you have tomatoes in your bowls or cucumbers, you can go into the app and read these tomatoes were picked on this date from this farm and this state.

This is the name of the family that owns the farm. These are the, all the, obviously all the nutritional stuff. The nutritional stuff is table stakes. What’s recruiting is doing now is giving us what we need and is being more conscious of the things that we put in our body that is innovation and nobody am sure there’s plenty of smart people in this room. There’s nobody in this room that would’ve told sweet green to do that. The problem with it, customer experience discovery is that we can go to our customers and ask them what they need, what they want, but it’s very difficult to understand what they need and that is why we have to be living two or three years out and thinking of concepts that today sound absurd, absolutely insane, are ludicrous. But if you know you’re having those internal dialogue where it’s like, there’s no way we can do that. You’re on the right track.

How do we design these strategies after we’ve discovered them? The movie theater, I’ll use this example. How many pain points are there in the movie theater experience? The bathrooms are dirty. There’s never mustered in the thing in that, uh, you know what I’m talking about and many other things. If you’re self says an organization want to be able to design a great customer experience that is different than the one that you may have today. And I’m not saying that it’s not great today, but what I’m asking and challenging to do is to level up create that next version of your customer experience. Start by understanding where the pain points for our customers that can be done by speaking to them, by serving them, by being inventive and having these conversations internally, going through your entire customer journey from beginning to end and do something that I call the traffic light model.

Every three months, my company, we’ll get together, our management team will get together and we’ll go through our customer journey. So our customer journey, we’ll go from customer books, a reservation on open table. Then the hostess will call them and confirmation call and talk to Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. There’s a total of 37 interactions that you would have when coming to one of my venues that includes the bathroom and everything. 37. It’s not as simple as reservation. I show up, I’m seated, I get a drink. There’s a lot of intricate details that happen that sometimes customers don’t even realize are happening. So what we do is we’ll implement that, integrate the traffic light model. So we’ll go through our customer journey and identify each pay, uh, interaction and any pain points that we have. We’re going to make it, label it, read anything that’s mediocre is yellow.

Anything that’s green is where we excel will obviously, I’ll always start with the red because that’s the biggest threat within our customer experience. We’ll get to yellow, but this is where most companies go wrong and miss an opportunity. The interactions that you have labeled green should be given. That information should be given to your marketing team and to your sales professionals because those strengths within your customer journey should be implemented within your marketing collateral and in your sales presentations because if your customers have today love you for Xyz reason, well you think perspective customers will be attracted to your organization for those exact same reasons. I’m often asked Michelle, how do you come up with your ideas other than the research and development? We do cross functional peer to peer learning and that can come from our employee advisory board, but I’ve also created another layer within the organization which I’ve labeled our invention team and there’s a few individuals from different departments that will come and have meetings where they’re just talking about the customer experience, a challenge and a big threat to your customer experiences experience. If you guys are just having individual conversations within your own departments. We’re guilty of doing this as well to our kitchen team will go out and have their own meeting and implement a strategy within the kitchen and then our face of host team will be like, what the heck?

I’m seeing some people kind of nod their head and that happens at all companies, but we have to, it’s almost a form of self sabotage. We have to be able to have this cross functional peer to peer learning because often when you have these conversations, I guarantee you someone in the room will say, I had no idea that your department went through that. That makes sense. Now this is why our customers are behaving when they get to us.

The frappaccino was a Maltese. It has become a multibillion dollar product for Starbucks and the individuals that invented it was a manager and a frontline employee in California sent it to head office in Seattle, Washington and it got kicked around and it finally became a part of their experience and in part of their product line. I share this example with you because you never know where your great strategy or next product is going to come from, which is why you need cross functional and peer to peer learning. And not everything you discuss is going to get actioned, but that’s not the goal of having these conversations. The goal of these conversations is to be inventive, but at the very least have this open dialogue within the organization and I guarantee it’s just a matter of time until you had that Eureka moment and you’re like that and that becomes the tipping point for your company. That is when you create some sort of Netflix light product that really changes your marketplace.

How do we deploy this? I mentioned that there’s three operational improvement plans every single quarter, but I also have a single point of accountability. I’m within my organization. I’m kind of that individual, that flag bearer that’s always talking about the customer experience, kind of like a Richard Branson like character. I like to model myself after him cause I really admire his leadership. But there’s also another individual named Jefferson in my company that I have made the single point of accountability for customer experience. So he is also other individual that’s kind of pounding his chest, talking about it. We’ve created a customer advisory board and I have the single point of accountability lead that meeting. So we have a handful of customers that meet with us on a quarterly basis. We share what upcoming products we have coming out. We invite them to food tasting and liquor tastings or cocktail tastings. We give them, we don’t, we don’t compensate them either.

Okay.

What we do instead is we give them early access to events that we’re hosting and they are absolutely over the moon. Happy to do so. We’ve created that service level agreement, but then we’ve also understood what is our measures of success. When you create experiences for people, whether it’s a customer or an employee, I can’t promise you when that return in investment is going to come.

Yeah.

You might create a system or process and you’re like, we might not see the return for 12 or 24 months and this is where the rubber meets the road.

Okay.

The most people centric leaders, the Richard Bransons of the world are willing to invest and improving the livelihoods of the individuals that interact with the brand.

Yeah.

I’m advocating within my company that I do not want a separation between the business and in our personal lives and how we behave and what I mean by that is this.

Okay.

If I go pick up my friend mark from the airport because he needs a ride when he lands in Toronto, do you think I’m driving thinking what is the Roi of picking Mark My friend up of 20 years? What is the Roi of doing this? No, that would be psychotic. It’s because I’m trying to build a relationship with him. Maybe he’ll pick me up from the airport one time. Maybe he’ll carry my casket when I die one day. Why can’t we take that same type of mentality of servant leadership into our workplace as well too? I always keep my finger on the pulse of our profit and loss statements, our sales targets and everything. But I also know that there’s some things that we’re going to do next month that might not pay a dividend for 12 months.

Okay.

And I’m okay with that because I’m trying to build a business that is going to withstand the test of time and competition. And this is the best way that I know how to do. So.

I have wanted to share these with you. The first document is how I interview it is a culture focused interview strategy. It’s a six step process that has allowed us to secure employee retention that is 2.5 times higher than the industry average. This is something that’s quite popular with audiences that I speak from a in front of the second document is how to build an employee advisory board. And the third is the micro customer experience, step by step guide. So if you are ever so interested in implementing that within your departments, by all means just visit that URL. And then Theresa, can we email the slide deck to everybody? Okay, great. Um, so you pop in your email address and you’ll get all three documents. Just send over to you. Before I get into Q. And. A, there’s one thing that I know to be very true. Every company on this planet will tell you that they deliver on great experience to their customers. Some companies will tell you that they treat their employees like their best customer, but the fact of the matter is that only a few companies actually do both. And if you’re willing to do both, if you’re wanting to achieve both authentically, then I highly, highly recommend that you start building a people first culture within your organization. Thank you very much.

 

 

How To Transform Your Company Culture In 2019 (7 Guaranteed Examples)

Hey Everyone,

Above is my video on how to transform your company culture in 2019. These are all strategies I’ve used in my businesses so I know they’ll work for you as well!

If you prefer to read my company culture strategies, check out the transcript below.

Hey team. In this video I’m going to share seven company culture strategies that you may have never considered to transform your company culture. Stay true to the end because there’s a bonus company culture tip that you’re definitely gonna want to use.

I built an eight figure business. I have 150 employees and I’ve been hired by companies like Mcdonald’s, Canada, verizon wireless, an Alfa Romeo.

I know that these strategies are gonna work for you because they’ve worked for me as an entrepreneur, a keynote speaker, and for my clients as well, so I guarantee that they’ll work for you to, these new strategies are going to help you elevate your company culture such as why private podcast should be used for employee onboarding and how my employee advisory board is helping transform company cultures plus much more. Don’t forget about the bonus strategy that I’m going to share with you, but you’re going to have to wait to the end and I guarantee nobody’s using it.

All right, let’s get into it.

Company culture idea number one is to create an internal podcast to onboard new employees. Because you know, new to company culture, I’m going to assume that you’ve already built your employee onboarding strategy.
Some of the education that you might have within this process is when was the company founded? Who are some of the executives and what are some of your core values?

The question is how are you delivering this education to your new employees? Have you ever noticed that during training, managing employee engagement levels can be difficult? We’ve all tried tips and tricks to be able to increase this engagement because of the training becomes more successful.

The answer to being able to create higher engagement is private podcasts. Instead of having your trainee manager stand in front of the room and explain your company culture, how was built and things that are aligned with the culture.

Use an internal podcast that new employees can listen to before their first day with your company.

According to software companies, Silk Road,

53% of HR professionals say employee engagement rises when onboarding is improved.

The beauty of leveraging an internal podcast is that it’s affordable and it’s a different experience for the employee. All you really need is one or two of your current employees to share the story and record it. Not only is this a unique idea, but it sends a message to new employees that you’re willing to think and do things in an innovative manner.

If you want your employees to do the same, you must first lead by example company culture. Idea number two is to create an employee advisory board. The employee advisory board or EA B is the most popular strategy that I’m asked about when I speak at business conferences as an employee engagement and company culture.
The employee advisory board is a fairly straight for strategy, but it does include some intricate details that you must manage to ensure that the program is successful.

The EAB is a group of team members within the company that meet with the senior leader of the organization on a monthly basis for two to four hours to talk about the current state of the company culture.

During the meeting, you will always ask two core questions that will set the foundation for the conversation. The first question is what are the strengths and opportunities to improve the company culture? And the second is describe the workplace of your dreams.

A few key elements of the EAB are is follows. The meeting is confidential. Create an environment where team members feel comfortable speaking freely. The host of the meeting should be a senior leader like an owner or the CEO to ensure every department has a voice.

Elect one team member from each department across the entire company to be a part of the EAB. Flip the team every six months and ask ea be team members to elect the replacement or do so democratically by internal vote.

Now, this is the most important part of the EAB. After you’ve gathered the feedback as the leader of the organization, you must take that information and discuss it with your management team to start transforming your company culture.

That is where the value is.

The employee advisory board is definitely the most valuable company culture idea that I’ve implemented within my business for my clients and have spoken about during my keynotes and workshops. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to what one of my managers has to say about the employee advisory.
“I think the employee advisory board is a great opportunity for all staff to have their voices heard, voice their concerns, their ideas to the company and give that to management and ownership.”

Idea number three is to create a company culture book or video.

You may have heard of company culture books or videos before.

The time I was introduced to them was when I visited Zappos in 2008 while these ideas might not be revolutionary, there’s that element of it that I highly recommend doing to take it to the next level and that is to include a section that shares the success stories of current and past employees.

For example, you could share the success story of Sarah, the frontline employee who grew from our call center position to become the vice president of customer success or of Steve, the employee who contributed to the company culture for five years.

Then ventured off on his own to start his own successful business. Your company culture book or video should have anybody who reads or watches it, whether it’s a customer, an employee, the media, or even a prospective employee, invoke a certain type of emotion that gets them excited about your company profiling current and past employee success stories allows you the opportunity to share a great story rather than just listing off facts such as where is the company located and when was it founded?

Company culture idea number four is to invite current and past employees to interviews. Your All Star employees should be leveraged as ambassadors for the company so that they’re able to share their story. Working within your company culture.

After all, when your company is growing, everyone in the organization should act as a recruiter. Somebody has started doing in 2018 within my businesses, I would invite great employees who define our company culture and welcome them to our interview process.

Even if they did not have any interview experience before. Specifically, I would invite these ambassadors into the company culture part of the interview process. They can ask a couple questions and it doesn’t matter if they don’t have a lot of experience in asking you interview questions because you’re going to be the person there that will guide them through the process.

The biggest value is having them there. Describe the company culture from the perspective of the employee, not as the leader. There would even be times where I would excuse myself for the interview to allow the candidate and the current employee to be able to speak one on one without me in the room.

I’ve even gone as far as inviting past employees, individuals who were culture ambassadors when they were with the company to the interview process to speak to the prospective candidate. This works extremely well when you’re trying to recruit senior talent that is being approached by other companies as well too.

One forgotten piece of value in doing this is because if you do hire that prospective employee, not only do they know the or the person hosting the interview, but they will also have built a bond with that culture ambassador.

I would go ahead and make these culture ambassador culture buddies during the employee onboarding experience company culture. Idea number five is to conduct quarterly company culture audits.

In the first few pages of my people first culture book I quoted somebody named Dan Guerrero with the athletic director of Ucla and he says,

“Culture is like a baby. You have to watch it 24/7, it needs to be fed at least three times a day and when it makes a mess you have to clean it up and change it”

Company. Culture audits are something that I implemented with in my own businesses in 2018 and it’s something I’m recommending to my clients as well too.

Before doing company culture audits, I was reminded of a leader that I greatly admire.

The leader I admire is Daniel Schwartz. He’s the CEO of restaurant brands international. The organization is the parent company of Tim Horton’s Popeye’s and Burger King. This organization has a very high level of meritocracy.

Operating a company with high level of meritocracy means that high performers are rewarded and celebrated and low performers are giving coaching to be able to turn their game around. However, if they don’t take the coaching, then they are off boarded and replaced with other potential high performers. A colossal mistake companies make is not offboarding non culture fits fast enough.

If you do not do this, these individuals will erode your company culture from the inside and make your job infinitely more difficult to get the culture back on track. When deploying our company culture audit initiative, I work closely with our senior management team. they will print off an entire list of every single employee on our payroll and they will go ahead and rate these individuals from one to five stars, five being individuals that greatly contribute to the success of the culture.

Before our meeting. I will ask our managers to already come prepared with their list of their rankings and be ready to explain their valuation of each and every team member. This might sound labor intensive for your management team, but it shouldn’t be because they should already have an intimate understanding of each of their team members and how they’re contributing to the company culture, but even if it was labor intensive, what is more important than protecting the company culture you’ve built?

Here are a few reasons why company audits are important. You’re always refreshing your talent pool and protecting your company culture. You’re giving your managers the autonomy to pick their team and make it their own and you’re sending your company a very loud message that regardless of how talented you are, no one is excused from contributing to the success of the company culture and no one will harm it.

After being presented with the list, I asked three key questions.

The first is what are we going to do to celebrate fours and fives? The second is what are we going to do to support threes to turn them into fours or fives and third, what have we done to coach ones and twos? If I’m satisfied the way that my management team has coached ones and twos, then we will begin the offboarding process. Before doing this, I highly suggest consulting with a labor and employment professional to be able to give you guidance.

Reed Hastings, the cofounder and CEO of Netflix says it best:

“We don’t tolerate brilliant jerks because the cost of teamwork is too high.”

Company culture idea number six is to host company culture tours. Company culture tours is a fantastic way to showcase your culture, to perspective employees, the public, the media or anyone who is interested in learning about company culture.

1-800-GOT-JUNK. The company that I started my career at does company culture tours in a fantastic manner. When I first joined 100 got junk in 2007 as a call center employee, I was amazed that people from throughout North America would fly to Vancouver and take the tour.

This told me early on my career that company culture matters to the success of any business.

Don’t feel that it’s absolutely necessary to be able to host the company culture akin to 1-800-GOT-JUNK after all they’ve been doing it for years.

My recommendation is to start small, host a couple tours and start refining it along the way to host company culture towards you’re going to need a single point of accountability and give them a couple of resources. The first is give them guidance by sharing this video with them so that they can review the examples I’ve provided.

Next, allocate time for them to design what the tour would look like and consider other logistical things such as time of day and duration of the tour and third a budget that they can work within to make it a great experience for tour members.

I will never stop learning about company culture.

I will always be a student, which is why to this very day I will still go on company culture tours from other companies so that I can learn from my organization and share ideas with you as well.

Company culture idea number seven is the 3 x 5 strategy. It is by far the easiest. It costs you nothing but it’s often forgotten by most organizations.

Let me ask you a question. If you walked around your business and ask your employees to recite your core values or your mission statement, would they be able to recite it back to you?

Similar to how if you went to a Starbucks, they would most likely be able to recite the mission statement of their company, which is:

“to inspire and nurture the human spirit. One person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” 

The three by five strategy will have you asking three employees at random across different departments in the organization five days a week to recite your core values or your mission statement.

After doing this for a long enough period of time, you’re going to create alignment which will help transform your company culture.

And now for the bonus company culture idea…

I present you the $20 interview question earlier in this video I told you that the EA b was the best strategy I’ve ever created, but I’m having second thoughts based on the feedback that I get from my keynotes, my workshops, and my book.

The $20 interview question is what’s resonating with companies around the globe.

All right, enough teasing here is the $20 question.

What is an indulgence that you can’t live without that costs less than $20?

At first, the candidate is going to be stumped and they may be thinking, why is this company asking me this question?

One thing’s for sure. They have never been asked this interview question in their career before, which makes it very unique. I’ve heard many different answers to this question. Dark chocolate, cool ranch, Doritos and red skittles.

After asking this question, what do you think is waiting on the desk or the workstation of the new employee on day one along with a hand written personalized card from the management team is the $20 gift that they had answered to the question in the interview.

Now there are a few key elements that you must follow to make this successful.

Number one, when asking the question probe further, if the candidate answers with dark chocolate, ask them what brand of chocolate from where this will help you further personalize the gift.

Number two, when presenting the gift to the candidate, ensure the person delivering the gesture reminds a new team member of the question.

For example, say, Hey Kelly, do you remember what you answered when we asked You what your $20 indulgence was? Have the gift out of sight, then hand it to them and number three, make sure it’s an indulgence, not a necessity because handing out a large package of toilet paper is just weird.

Not only will this transform your company culture, it is sending a very loud message to each and every new employee that this is how we treat people within our organization. We are thoughtful, we are genuine and we are caring not just to new employees but to everyone that interacts with the brand.

Start asking the $20 interview question today.

There you have it, the seven it company culture strategies to transform Your Business and that bonus interview question that I shared with you whenever you visit my youtube channel, my promise to you is that I’m going to share company culture, customer experience and employee engagement strategies. If you learn something by watching this video, it would mean the world to me.

If you subscribe to my youtube channel so that you can be alerted when I released my next educational video, visit my website, Michelle falcon.com to learn about my keynote speeches and the private workshops that I host. But before you go, go into the comment section of this video and answer this one question so that I can help you implement some of these strategies. What strategy are you looking forward to implementing the most within your business?

Leave a comment below and let’s start the conversation.

Thank you so much for watching this video and I’ll see you next time. Right.

5 New Customer Service Skills Your Employees Need (and How to Train Them Properly in 2019)

There are many customer service skills that employees must possess to contribute to the success of a company.

Things such as friendly, proactive, going above-and-beyond all come to mind.

It’s likely that you clicked through to read this post because you want new customer service ideas, not the same old run of the mill concepts that have been suggested by everyone else online…am I right?

The five customer service training skills I’m going to share with you are ones that my management teams are currently training my employees with.

Across our venues, restaurants and bars, we have 150 team members operating within one of Canada’s most competitive hospitality districts (King West, Downtown Toronto); the far majority of these team members are customer-facing.

My business partners and I have built a reputation in the city and industry for having a next-level customer experience and it’s largely because of how we train our team on their customer service skills.

Related: What is Customer Experience

I share this information with you to give you some background information if you’re not familiar with me. However, the primary reasons is because I want you to know that this information is tried, tested and true.

I’m an operator, just like you!

I have a team I must support, just like you!

I’m looking for a competitive advantage with proven strategies, not advice from someone who just recites what they read online.

Before we get into the 5 Customer Service Skills, make sure to connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know which Customer Service Skill you like the most – I’d be happy to answer any further questions you may have after reading the article!

Without further adieu, I present you the five new customer service skills your employees need:

Customer Service Skill #1: Understand the 3 Customer Personality Types

You can’t deliver the same experience to every single customer and have great customer service skills.

Why?

Because some gestures – whether it’s your tone, the questions you ask the customer or your dialogue – will engage some customers and alienate others.

A decade ago, when I was working within a call centre as a customer service agent in Vancouver, I started to document different customer traits and behaviours.

Why was it that customers in different regions reacted differently to how I answered the phone?

Why did some customers not care to talk about the local sports team?

Why did some customers want to talk about the weather?

I was interested in the answers to these questions…so I investigated further.

After months of taking notes, I recognized that each customer has a different definition of success when doing business with a company.

Eventually, I created something I now refer to as The 3 Common Customer Personality Types.

I’ve trained hundreds of people on these customer personality types, such as customer service team members from Verizon Wireless and sales professionals from Lexus

The Director Style Personality Type

Customer Service Skills #1

Let’s pretend James Bond was your customer.

What attributes does he have?

He’s reserved, to the point in his conversation and conducts very little chit chat.

Now, think of this customer in your business. What do they value the most and how are they defining a great customer experience? I’d suggest:

  • Team members with high product knowledge
  • They want to lead the customer experience
  • Time efficiency matters to them
  • Their questions get answered quickly

The director style customer personality is a great customer to have because often their experience with your company is an efficient one. This is particularly great for retail and call centre experiences.

The Socializer Style Personality Type

Customer Service Skills #2

I don’t know Ellen Degeneres personally but based on her show I’m going to assume she’s kind, speaks at length and is a great listener.

Does this remind you of one of your customers?

I bet it does! Now, how does the socializer define a successfully customer experience?

  • Employees engaging in off-topic conversations
  • They find transactional customer experiences rude
  • A company that cares about their customers as a human being, not just a customer or a number

Here’s a tip! There is a big threat in doing business with the socializer personality type.

What do you think it is?

Time! They are the type of customer that will talk about this, that and everything while you have a line up of other customers in your queue. If your employees have the right customer service skills they will be able to effectively serve this personality type without cutting them off or be rude.

Continue reading below to see which skills your employees must have to provide a positive, efficient customer experience for Socializers.

The Passive Style Personality Type

Customer Service Skills #3

Have you enthusiastically ever asked a customer,

“How’s your day going!”

And they replied with, “Good” without asking in return how your day is going?

I introduce you to the passive personality type. Some employees may label these customers as “boring” “low energy” or “not engaging.” For me, I think they are misunderstood.

Their attributes are defined as guarded, timid with expression.

But, I believe that for the most part this behaviour is likely because your company or industry have failed them before which is causing this demeanour of uncertainty. I suggest that your employees don’t write these customers off because they can become some of your most loyal customers! They are simply looking for a company that they can trust.

Each customer personality type may exhibit great company customer loyalty for different reasons. It’s your responsibility as a leader to train your team members on their customer service skills to elevate the customer experience.

Customer Service Skill #2: Patience
 Customer Service Skills #4

You may be thinking:

“Michel, you promised NEW customer service skills! Patience isn’t new to me!”

I know, I know. But, what I’m going to share with you is how to identify if your prospective employees have this customer service skill BEFORE you hire them. I don’t believe you can train patience very well as it’s a human behaviour that takes years to accomplish.

I train companies how to build customer-centric teams and ask the right customer service interview questions. Here are a few you can use to identify if the person you’re interviewing is patient:

  • What are some nuisances that really bother you in your personal life?
  • How do you react to something frustrating you?
  • What’s the most irritating thing that has happened to you this week?

These questions are asked to identify how the candidate is in their everyday life. You can make some sound assumptions on how they will behave as a team member of yours based on their responses.

If they respond with great detail on how things easily bother them then I’d be on guard as they may exhibit very little patience with your customers.

However, if the candidate appears to genuinely struggle to think of answers then you may have an all-star on your hands.

You can’t predict customer behaviours within your business but you can help your company by hiring team members who exhibit patience with your customers.

Customer Service Skill #3: Capture ideas and share them

Customer Service Skills #5

Wouldn’t it be amazing if your employees regularly came to you with ideas on how to better the customer experience and help the company grow?

I’m so fortunate that this is what’s happening in my business. We constantly have team members, ones from different departments, sharing concepts with our management team.

The most valuable way that my company gathers ideas from our team is through our Employee Advisory Board (EAB). The EAB is a group of team members who represent each department across the company. They meet with me once per month for 2-4 hours to discuss the current state of the business. During my keynote speeches and workshops, I help companies understand the value of having an EAB and many companies have implemented one…I think you should too.

Do all of them get put into action? Not all, but many do! We are in this advantageous position as a company because we:

  • Hire individuals who are inventive
  • Have fostered a company culture where we promote new ideas
  • Are willing to think differently and try new things
  • Celebrate team member creativity
  • Have created a framework and meeting structure where employees can share their concepts

I’ve always said, “you never know where your next great idea is going to come from.” I find that the best ideas come from the individuals who are the most customer-facing.

Who do you think invented Starbucks’ multi-billion dollar Frappuccino? You guessed it…frontline employees.

Customer Service Skill #4: Collect Customer Intelligence

Customer Experience Skills #6

Within my business, customer intelligence is the subtle details that your customers share with you or that you’re able to learn when serving them.

These details can be leveraged to create a never-before-seen customer experience which will increase customer loyalty.

If I was your customer, at one point or another you would learn the following about me:

  • I have a dog named Maggy
  • I’m a Vancouver Canucks fan
  • I love tequila
  • I’m a boxer and play ice hockey
  • I own restaurants, bars and venues in Toronto
  • My favourite two foods are pizza and burgers
  • My mother is the sweetest angel in the world and her name is Rosa

All of this information needs to habitually be captured for every customer within your CRM to be used to create a personalized experience at any time during their lifecycle with your company. Before you can start training your employees on gathering this information you must first create the repository within your CRM.

In theory, this makes sense, right? However, most companies struggle in doing this well because they don’t reinforce it with their team members on a weekly basis.

How to train them to use this information is in customer service skill #5…

Customer Service Skill #5: Listen and Take Action!

Customer Service Skill #7

For decades we’ve been telling our employees:

“Listen to your customers…”

We don’t tell our employees to listen because listening is a cheap skill set. Instead, we tell them to:

“Listen and take action on what you’ve learned!”

In step 4, I mentioned many things that I’d likely share with your team members. How are you going to leverage this information? Will your employee simply say, ‘I’m a Vancouver Canucks fan too!” Or, will they record that information and share it with a manager to create what I call a micro customer experience.

A micro customer experience, or MCE, is a subtle, memorable and affordable gesture that you do for your customers that resonates with them for years.

I’d be blown away if I was your customer, purchased a service or product and received a Vancouver Canucks hockey puck with my purchase accompanied by a hand written card that said:

“Michel, thank you for trusting us to be your service provider. It means the world to us! We thought of you…Go, Canucks, Go!”

You would have created such a strong bond with me that would heavily influence my customer loyalty. Listening and taking action on what your employees have learned is a non-negotiable when creating a micro customer experience program for your company. It must happen!

Related: Customer Experience Strategies: 5 Tips for Profit and Growth

Within my company, each venue has a micro customer experience program that’s only $250/month. Everyone can afford to do this! However, it first starts with training your employees with the highest customer service skills possible.

Did you notice that many of the customer service skills I outlined were cost-friendly? I don’t like spending a lot of money to find solutions unless the value greatly exceeds the cost. I’d going to assume you’d like to achieve the same.

I do believe that technology will replace some human interaction but I don’t believe the human element of great customer service skills will be replaced.

Question: what customer service skill do you believe you can implement within the next 90 days? Connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know what your biggest take away from this article was by leaving a comment below!  I’ll respond with some commentary too.

If you’re interested in me helping your company with customer experience, employee engagement and/or company culture strategies, click this link and fill out the contact form so I can share some keynote presentation and private workshop information with you.

People-First Culture™: Why Some Teams Win Together and Others Don’t.

People-First Culture™: Build a business your employees and customers will admire.

Customer experience, employee engagement, company culture and leadership are all extremely important factors in building an admired company/brand. The People-First Culture™ is a combination of all of these factors to assist businesses on the going down the path of becoming that admired brand in the eyes of both their employees and their customers.

It is extremely important to make your employees just as happy as your customers. I’m in the business of making my employees cry…. good tears of course! You need to show them that you care, and once you show  your employees that you care, that you respect them and that you appreciate them, they will deliver an experience to your customers that they have never seen before!

This video was shot in one take without a script. It’s just a real talk. It’s everything I believe captured in a short(ish) message.
I highlight the following in the video:
  • My People-First Culture and 3P Strategy concept.
  • I share stories from companies and leaders you may not have heard of like The Beautiful People Company (nearly half their workforce is disabled), Howard Behar (a legendary leader) and Warby Parker (a million to a billion in a few short years).
  • A diagram to share with your company and team.
If you watch the video and like the message, please consider sharing it on social media and TAG someone you think needs to hear the message.

Breakfast-N-Jam Sessions

 

When you have a handful of employees it’s easy to remember people’s names and have a one-to-one relationship with your team, but as you get bigger, as your company starts to scale, in our case, me and my business partners have over 100 employees.

 

Having that one-to-one relationship becomes more difficult, unless you put forth the effort.

 

So, I’m introducing something that I call “Breakfast-N-Jam” sessions every Monday morning at 9am, I invite one team member to have breakfast with me, and I’m not trying to use this time to motivate them as an employee, I’m trying to get to know them as an individual.

 

Another outcome of the breakfast is I want them to share their goals with me, whether that’s with the company or without the company, if you’re going to be a great leader, you need to take your employees motivation, understand their goals, and it’s your responsibility to help them accomplish those goals with or without the company.

 

That is why I’m hosting “Breakfast-N-Jam” sessions on a weekly basis.

Interview Process: 7 Tips to Build a High Performing Team (2018)

 

Michel Falcon:

Hey everyone, I’m Michel Falcon, and in this video, I’m going to share the seven tips that I use to build better interview processes, to build high performing teams, increase employee engagement, and build a more profitable company.

Do you feel your interview process lacks structure? Have you been asking the same interview questions for years? And do you feel like you need to be properly trained on actually how to host these interviews? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this video is for you, because I’m going to teach you the type of process that I use in my businesses to build a high performing team and a profitable business.

When I started my career, I did not know how to interview at all. I asked the typical questions like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” And, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I now know better. To build a high performing team, you must build a very regiment interview process so that you make great hires each and every time.

The seven step process has taken me years to refine, so I know it works. The steps are: a phone interview, predictive index, culture interview, skill set interview, assignment, decision, and offer.

The first step of the interview process is the phone interview, also known as the phone screen. I ask about five questions on this interview. But the main thing I’m listening for, is how does a candidate answer their phone? And what does their voice mail sound like?

If they can’t answer their own phone in a professional manner, or have a professional sounding voice mail, that gets my guard up. Because what is the likelihood that they are going to represent your brand well, if they can’t even represent themselves well as individuals. I’m also listening for how enthusiastic they sound to hear from you. The phone interview’s in place to filter candidates from the very beginning. Properly interviewing does take time and energy. But if you have a proper phone interview in place, that’s going to filter bad candidates out from the very beginning, and save you time.

The second step into my interview process is giving the candidates a predictive index assessment, also known as PI. PI is something that I swear by. It only takes the candidate about 10 minutes to complete, and it’s going to tell you what makes them tick, and what ticks them off in the workplace, and what really motivates them, and how you’re going to have to manage them. Don’t just take it from me, my friend Dev Basu is somebody that I put on Predictive Index as well, too, and he absolutely swears by it.

 

Dev Basu:

Hey, it’s Dev Basu from Powered By Search, and I wanted to say a few words about Predictive Index. It’s a tool that we’ve been using at our agency for the last six months or so. And man have things changed since using it. I’m not one of those people that loves guessing when going into a hire, and having somebody critical join my team. And since employing Predictive Index, frankly three things have changed.

Number one, how we recruit people, because now we have an idea of what their drives, needs, and behaviors are when they come into the organization. Number two, how our existing people like to work with each other. And so, are they more extroverted, or are they a bit less? Are they more patient, or less patient? And so on. Then finally, our clients. We’ve actually been sharing PI with them to understand a bit more about what’s the best way to work with this person, and give them exactly what they need. And I hope that that is something that every organization has access to. We use it very often in terms of Predictive Index. And I think that is one of the best investments that we’ve made in 2017 for us. We continue, and will be continuing to use it for the foreseeable future.

 

Michel Falcon:

I use it. Dev uses it. And I highly recommend you should explore the opportunity of using PI within your business, to build a high performing team. If you have any questions on PI, there’s a link below that you can visit to explore for yourself.

The third step of my interview process is the most important. I repeat: it’s the most important step of my seven step interview process. And that’s the culture interview. That is where you ask questions to understand is this individual going to fit within our company culture. The hardest part about hosting this interview is letting yourself be distracted by accolades that this candidate has earned, or their past success.

Yes, maybe they’re a great bartender, maybe they are fantastic car salesmen, or a real estate agent, or whatever the case is, but you have to understand in the culture interview, if they are going to fit within your company culture. Ask questions to really understand, are they going to fit within our core values, and play nice with other team members on our team. If you don’t believe that they will, and that’s going to be a judgment call on your behalf, then tell them that they cannot continue forward in the interview process.

The type of questions you should be asking during the culture interview are related to your core values. In my business, I have five core values. So, we ask two questions per core value in the culture interview. We do not ask any questions related to skill set, to understand if they can actually perform the job, because that’s not our focus. Our focus in the culture interview is strictly on whether this individual’s going to fit within the company culture, or not.

The hardest part that I see many entrepreneurs and business professionals struggle with in this step, is being enamored with the skill set. You have to ignore how good of a developer this person is, a sales person, or a marketer. Only focus on whether they’re going to fit within your company culture. This is a non negotiable, if you’re going to build a high performing team that aligns behind your company values.

The fourth step of the interview process is the skill set interview, which happens on a different day than the culture interview. During this interview you are asking questions to understand if this person can actually do the job that you’re recruiting for. I like to ask about a dozen questions to make sure that you keep the candidate on their toes, and giving you very solid answers.

The fifth step of the interview process is the assignment. It’s where you give them a small task that could take them anywhere between four and eight hours to complete. If you’re hiring a marketer, have them edit a three page document for grammar and diction. If you’re hiring a sales person, ask them how they would handle these five different sales scenarios. Heres’ a little tip, give it to them Friday afternoon, and ask them to have to delivered to you by Monday at noon. Why? Because you want to understand if these individuals are going to give up their weekend to work for your company.

You’d be surprised how many people will drop out of the interview process, which his very advantageous for you, because you know that if they’re not committed to their own career, what’s the likelihood that they’re going to be committed to their company? We’re almost at the finish line.

Step six, is the decision. If you have, which you should, multiple people in the interview process, get together and debate whether you should make the candidate an offer or not. If you have multiple candidates that you like, that’s an advantageous position to be in, but it can also be quite difficult, because you might have a couple people on Team A, and a couple people on Team B come together and decide who you are going to make an offer to.

Step seven, the finish line is when you make the candidate an offer. Do not simply just email them and say, “Hey, would like to work for our company. Here’s your offer.” Remember that this candidate just went through interview hell. Many different steps and processes and many hours. Make this a moment of celebration for your candidate, and get them really excited to join your company. My recommendation is to get a couple people on the phone, put the candidate on speaker phone, and congratulate them in a group setting. This will get the candidate super jacked up, super enthusiastic to join your company, and start delivering results on day one.

You may be thinking Michel that sounds long and exhausting. When it comes to your interviewing, you’re not trying to be efficient, you’re trying to be diligent. And that’s how you build a high performing team. You can’t rush the interview process. You can’t do things that haven’t worked for you in the past. So, I implore you, to have an open mind. I use this strategy each and every time when I start a new company, when I make any new hires, and it absolutely works.

It’s taken me years to refine, so you know that it works, and it’s not something that I’ve just created overnight. Equally as important, this interview process is difficult. To find high performers, to join your team, and contribute to the success of your company, you need to make it difficult to work for your company. Go out and refine your interview process to make it something like joining a private country club. Not everybody can get in, but when you’re in, you’re in.

There you have it, that’s my seven step interview process. It works for me, and I guarantee it will work for you too. If you have any questions, if you want more education, go to MichelFalcon.com, there’s a whole lot of videos for you, so that you can build a high performing team to grow your company. If you learned something by watching this video, stop what you’re doing, go over to YouTube, and click the subscribe button, so that you can automatically be made aware when I release my next video. In the comments section, let me know what step you think is going to provide you the most value to build a high performing team.

And if you want more education, head over to MichelFalcon.com. I have a lot of videos over there to help you build a stronger company by using company culture, customer experience, and employee engagement.

Thank you so much. See you next time.

Customer Experience Strategies: 5 Tips for Profit and Growth (2018)

 

In this video, I’m going to share five customer experience strategies, that will grow your profit, and help you build a successful company.

I know that these strategies work, because I use them within my business on a daily basis. My company does over eight figures a year in revenue, and has over 100 employees. I’ve also used these strategies when consulting for companies like McDonald’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Lexus.

Regardless of your industry, these strategies will work for you as well too. No matter how many employees, or how many customers you actually have.

These strategies aren’t going to be for beginners, so get ready to use them in your business, and get super strategic on how you apply them to start growing your business.

My name is Michel Falcon, and for nearly 10 years, I’ve been using customer experience strategies to grow successful companies.

Before we start trying to improve our customer experience, we all have to be on the same page of what it actually is. Customer experience is not customer service.

Customer service are actions. When you go to the grocery store, and purchase milk, bread, and bananas, the employee helping you pay is delivering customer service to you.

Customer experience is the design of the interactions that your customer experiences with your company from beginning to end. Again, before you try to improve your customer experience, everyone on your team must understand what it actually is.

A quote on customer experience that I absolute love, comes from Jeff Bezos, the CEO and Founder of Amazon. “Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient.”

If you’re a resilient company, then you have the opportunity to bounce back from some frustrations that you might be experiencing. Such as high customer turn over, and bad online or offline reviews.

These strategies are going to help you with all those things, so let’s get right into it.

The number one strategy that you have to have in your business, if you want to improve your customer experience, is that your leadership team must exemplify the type of customer experience that you want your employees to roll out to your customers.

In my business, we have a program called The Partner Shift, where every single business partner will work a full shift once per quarter, so that we can have a better understanding of the inner workings of our business, so that we can go back and build some systems and processes to improve the customer experience.

Steve Jobs has a perfect quote that aligns with this strategy. “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

Leaders in companies, I challenge you, once a month or once a quarter, get into your business, and act like a front line employee. Work in your retail store. Take some calls in your call center. Respond to customers on social media, get in the trenches, learn what’s happening on a daily basis, and use that data to build better systems and processes, to build your customer experience.

The second strategy is developing premium customer experience training material. I told you earlier that I have advised and consulted for some of the biggest companies in the world. So, I’ve seen training programs, from small companies and multi-billion dollar organizations. And I can say, that I think every company has the opportunity to build better content.

Now, what does this content entail? You have to teach every single employee the difference between customer experience and customer service. You have to teach them about different customer personality types, and let them know what organic growth means.

These are just a few of many modules that should be included in your customer experience training program. Now everyone, regardless of their position, regardless of the tenure that they have with their company, should go through this training so that you have an aligned organization. For me, this is a non-negotiable. According to Gallup, “1 out of 3 employees say that uninspiring content is the barrier to their learning.”

My recommendation to all entrepreneurs and leader, is to audit your current training program. Do you feel that you’re providing premium content. If you do, how can you continuously refine it, to set your employees up for success. And don’t forget to make it inspiring, and entertaining.

For the third strategy, I want to introduce you to something that I call micro customer experiences, and are implemented with every single business that I own.

A Micro Customer Experience is a small, memorable and affordable gesture that you do for your customer, that resonates with them for years.

Let me give you a real world example of a micro customer experience. In one of my businesses, which is a restaurant, I had an employee named Yasmin have a conversation with one of the tables that she was serving. She learned that one of the guests was celebrating a pregnancy announcement.

Immediately after learning this, Yasmin went to her experienced coordinator who manages our micro customer experience program. She went across the street to a local pharmacy, and purchased a $25 gift certificate to Toys”R”Us. They put the Toys”R”Us gift certificate in the billfold when they presented the bill to the customer, to be able to create an experience that the customer’s never seen before.

To be able to have this happen within your business, you need a single point of accountability. You need a budget to be able to make this happen, but you have to give your employees the autonomy to actually bring it to surface, and deliver these experiences to your customers.

This is exactly what a micro customer experience is. It’s a small, memorable and affordable gesture that you do for your customers that they’re going to talk about with their friends, family members, and hopefully write a Facebook or Google review about.

I’m often asked, “How much should I budget?” Well, to give you an example, and it’s completely up to you, the business that I just described does $10 million a year in revenue, and our monthly budget for this program is only $250.00. Every single company on this planet can afford to make this program work.

Don’t just take it from me the entrepreneur, I want you to listen to Yasmin herself describe exactly why she loves the micro customer experience program.

Yasmin: I enjoy the program because it gives me an opportunity to get to know my guests, step out of my comfort zone, and do something to surprise them and make them happy.

The fourth strategy is increasing your customer intelligence by surveying your customer. Regardless of your industry, or the size of your company, every organization must be surveying their customers to gather customer insights, so that you can celebrate great customer service, and build operational improvement plans if you get bad reviews, and bad feedback.

Now, some of the pitfalls in surveying your customers is that your survey is too long, and you’re sending the survey to the customer at the wrong time. You must overcome these barriers to gather this intelligence to continuously improve your customer experience, to grow your profit, and grow admired organizations.

To successfully survey your customers, you must have a single point of accountability. An individual within your business managing the voice of the customer program. Now, if you’re a large organization, maybe there’s a few people managing this program. But, this team must report on the data on a weekly basis, and share this intelligence with people within the company that are able to influence change.

It’s up to those individuals to commit to building operational improvement plans to ensure that strategies and processes are being built within the company to increase customer loyalty.

You may be familiar with this legendary quote from Bill Gates where he says, “Your must unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning,” and that remains true today.

Go out, survey your customers, take the feedback, and build operational improvement plans to secure customer loyalty.

The fifth strategy that I use within my business to build a legendary customer experience is have a complaint resolution system. What this entails, is having a single point of accountability, or multiple people if you’re a big company, to ensure that every single customer complaint, across email, social media, phone, and all channels, is resolved within one business day maximum. This is going to help you manage your customer retention rates, and secure that customer loyalty that you want to influence your profit.

To be able to do this, your single point of accountability is going to need to report on the data that they’ve received to the same group that receive the customer survey results, so that they can build operational strategies to build the business. This single point of accountability needs a budget for reimbursements and discounts just in case you delivered poor service.

There you have it, those are the five strategies that I use within my business to improve my company’s customer experience, to influence profit and growth. If you learned something by watching this video, stop what you’re doing and click the Like button on my Facebook page, so that you can be made aware when I release my next video.

Visit michelfalcon.com to learn other systems and processes to improve your customer experience, increase your employee engagement, and build your company culture. And leave a comment below, and let me know what strategy you are looking forward to implementing within your business, and let me know how I can help you.

Thank you for watching. Have a great day.

5 Ways to Increase Your Net Promoter Score Response Rate

I take it that you clicked on this video because your company is using Net Promoter Score.

I’m also going to assume that you spent a considerable amount of time and resources building the program, launching it and then heard crickets after you sent the survey to your customers because your response rate was low?

I’m Michel Falcon and in this video, I’m going to share 5 ways to increase your response rates to 60% or greater.

Welcome to my YouTube channel where I teach you how to use customer experience and

employee engagement strategies to build your business.

Today I’m going to share how to increase your Net Promoter Score response rate to get even more customer data to better your business.

For those note familiar, Net Promoter Score is a customer survey system that companies like Apple, American Express and Proctor and Gamble use that asks two simple questions:

“On a scale from 0 – 10, where 10 is absolutely and 0 is absolutely not, how likely are you to recommend company ABC to friend or colleague?”

The second question is based on the score your received in the first question.

If you received a 0-8, customers that are known as your Detractors and Passives, the second question you’d ask is,

“What is it that company ABC would need to do to earn a higher recommendation?”

If the customer rated you a 9 or 10, also known as your Promoter customers, you’d ask,

“What is it that company ABC does well to earn your recommendation?”

I was first introduced to Net Promoter Score in 2008 when I was working for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? – a company that had a NPS of 84.

After learning about the system, I immediately bought two books on Net Promoter Score and started reading. The two books were:

  • The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth
  • And Answering the Ultimate Question: How Net Promoter Can Transform Your Business

After reading the books, speaking to other companies that use it and seeing first hand how it can operationally and profitably improve a business I was hooked.

I understand that there are many naysayers of Net Promoter Score and that’s fine. Like anything, the program is only as good as how well you understand and implement it within your business.

Throughout my career, I’ve helped dozens of companies, including my own, launch Net Promoter Score programs.

One of the main questions I receive when I speak at events on Net Promoter Score or customer experience is how to increase email survey response rates.

Most organizations receive a 5-20% response rate to their customer surveys. By using the five tactics that I share in this video, I have helped companies increase their response rates to over 60%.

The #1 recommendation to increase your email survey response rate is to evaluate your email subject line.

Let’s use Rogers Communications as an example. Rogers is Canada’s largest telecomm company and my service provider.

I like the company. But, I believe they could be doing a better job with their email subject line.

As of June 2017, their email subject line is “Your feedback is requested.”

These emails have swiftly made it to my trash folder because it doesn’t capture my attention. For me, the subject line doesn’t feel authentic or engage me to want to open the email and complete the survey.

A subject line that I prefer would read like this,

“How was your customer experience? Tell us in 2 minutes.”

The reason this email subject line works is because it asks an interesting question and it tells the customer how long it will take to complete the survey.

By asking this question you instill curiosity in the customer. The second part shows respect to their time rather than sending them down a rabbit hole.

I don’t recommend blindly changing your email subject lines. A/B test a few, evaluate the results for three months and then make an informed decision on which subject line will yield the greatest results.

The second tactic I use is similar to the first. However, with this approach, you want to evaluate the copy within the email.

Having your customer open the email is the first task. The next is equally as important to ensure they click through to the actual complete the survey.

Let’s use Airbnb as an example. Here’s a screenshot of an email they send to their customers.

It reads,

“Hi Customer,

Thank you for using Airbnb. We really appreciate you choosing Airbnb for your travel plans.

To help us improve, we’d like to ask you a few questions about your experience so far. It’ll only take 3 minutes, and your answers will help us make Airbnb even better for you and other guests.

Thanks. The Airbnb Team.

You’ll notice a few things:

  • There are only four sentences within the copy
  • Within the four sentences they:
  • Thank you for your patronage
  • Thank you for helping them improve
  • And outline how long the survey will take. In this case, only 3 minutes

This is masterful copying writing and I’m sure contributes to a high survey response rate.

Take a look at the body of your emails that you send to your customers requesting feedback. Is it short and to the point or long-winded and indirect? Also, does it read well or does it sound robotic?

The third tactic I use to increase email survey response rates is to genuinely ask yourself,

“Do I really need to be asking this many questions?”

The reason Net Promoter Score is so valuable is because it allows the customer to tell you directly what’s important to them rather than you force feeding them questions that might not be important to them.

My rule of thumb is to ask no more than five questions at a time. By doing so, you will stop customers from having survey fatigue.

Survey fatigue is when a customer accepts your proposal to complete a survey but doesn’t complete it because it’s too long.

Take a look at how many questions you’re asking your customers to complete and ask yourself if they are all necessary.

Step #4 is to provide your customers a visual tracker of where they are within the survey process.

Most software these days will provide a progress tracker like this one here. Notice how it clearly displays what step the customer is on within the survey. A tool as small as this will help increase your survey response rates because it helps guide the customer through the process.

Step #5 is to leverage your employees to plant a seed with your customers to expect to receive a survey in their inbox.

Whether you speak to your customers in-person, by phone, live chat, social media or another channel, leverage your team members to say something like this after they have served your customers,

“Mrs. Johnson, thank you for being a customer of company ABC. To continuously improve our customer experience we heavily rely on your feedback. Within 48 hours you’re going to receive an email survey. It will only take you two minutes to complete. Would you be able to allocate two minutes of your time to help us get better?”

The reason that this type of script works is because:

  • You’ve thanked the customer for their business
  • You’ve made it about them and their experience with your company
  • You’ve told them it will only take a short amount of their time
  • And you asked a question at the end to get their commitment

I’m not a huge fan of scripts. Instead, provide your team with a framework and key points to mention to the customer and let them develop their own communication.

It’s also important to remind the customer to check their spam folder.

Your employees are valuable assets when asking your customers to participate in your survey program. You’ll be surprised how much this can positively impact your response rate.

There you have it, my top 5 tactics to receive a 60% of greater customer survey response rate.

I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below and tell why or why you don’t like the Net Promoter Score. I’ve heard many reasons and want to hear what you think.

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  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be alerted when I release my next video
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Have a great day and I’ll see you next time!