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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.