Improve Your Customer Experience With Customer Journey Mapping (Case Study Included)

In all my years of focusing on customer experience management, there is one practice that stands out amongst them all…customer journey mapping!

Watch my detailed video above (16 minutes) to learn:

? How customer journey mapping will improve your operational strategy.

? My ‘traffic light model’ to clearly identify your strengths and opportunities to improve.

? How I helped a dental practice revitalize their patient experience.

If you prefer to read about customer journey mapping, I’ve attached the transcript of this video below!

In this video, I’m going to share how any company in any industry, can improve their customer experience by leveraging customer journey mapping. I’m going to introduce you to my traffic light model toward the end of the video. It’s something that I use within my business, which sees tens of thousands of customers per month.

I’ve leveraged my customer experience strategies and shared them with companies like CenturyLink, Alfa Romeo, Verizon Wireless, and dozens of others. The reason I share that with you, is because my strategies are tried, tested, and true. They’re working for me and I guarantee they will work for you as well.

I’m going to teach you how to improve your customer experience by using customer journey mapping regardless of whether you are a million, or a billion dollar company. Not only that, I’m going to teach you how to host a customer journey mapping workshop for your company. I’ll share the value of it, and how to optimize the results. And you’re going to get an introduction to my traffic light model.

Customer journey mapping is a fantastic way to improve your customer experience.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what Steve Mascarin, a local dentist here in Toronto had to say after we hosted a customer journey mapping workshop for his company.

“So I’ve been working with Michel for two years now and I’ve seen him perform on stage in front of 2000 people, and in a small intimate group like we had today of 25 people. And he goes out with the same energy and passion, no matter how large the group is, or what type of industry he’s working with. And I cannot think of or know of anybody that’s got more experience, and is more on the cutting edge of the customer experience and customer touch points and improving them. And the results that I’ve had so far have been unbelievable. I’m so much further ahead of my competitors in my industry. And I don’t think there’s any way they’re going to catch me now because I’ve been working with Michel.”

For those not familiar, customer journey mapping is a workshop that you will host with your company that outlines the macro and the micro interactions that your customers experience when doing business with you from beginning to end. It gives you a holistic view to understand where your strengths and your opportunities are to improve from an operational perspective. It will allow you to build operational improvement plans to continuously refine the business.

I like to use going to the movie theatres as an example when I host private workshops because it’s easily relatable. What do you experience when going to the movie theatres? Well, there’s a lot. Some of the more common macro interactions would include awareness, such as seeing a Facebook ad or driving by the movie theatres. Next, you’re going to want to purchase your tickets. You might do that on a mobile website, or their desktop site. Or you might choose to go to the movie theatres and purchase them through an employee, or at a self serve kiosk. And of course one of the macro interactions within the movie theatre is purchasing popcorn at the concession stand.

But what about the micro experiences? The little interactions within the customer journey. This is where I like to live within, to be able to grow my businesses, because often this isn’t where your competition is focused on. Some of the micro interactions within the customer journey of a movie theatre could include the cleanliness of the bathroom, or does the ketchup pump actually have ketchup near the concession stand after you buy your hot dog? This is where we have to focus to be able to create an experience that our customers have never seen before and customer journey mapping allows you to do this.

I believe if you want to remain relevant within your industry, you must compete within the macro interactions.

But you must also excel within the micro interactions within your customer journey. Of course, these aren’t all of the touch points in a movie theatre, but you get the point. Hosting customer journey mapping workshops will improve your customer experience because it will bring your team together. My mandate is to have at least one person from every department present when hosting the workshop. This proves to be beneficial because you get a 360 view of the customer journey.

Identifies areas of strength and opportunities to improve your customer experience. It will influence positive debate within the company. You’ll create alignment. After all, how can you improve something together if you’re not aligned behind what you’re trying to improve. And it will have your team members literally saying, “I didn’t know your department experience that. That’s why you do it that way.”

Earlier in the video I introduced you to Steve Mascarin. He’s the owner of Taunton Village Dental. Rather than giving you anecdotes on how to host a customer journey mapping workshop for your company, why don’t I take you through the step by step process that we leverage to be able to create a customer journey mapping workshop for his dental practice. Prior to the workshop, this is how we prepared. We sent a company wide announcement, letting everyone know that they would be attending a full day workshop to improve the company’s patient experience.

The room was filled with people from all departments. We welcomed managers, dentists, hygienists, office team members, and many more. Within the communication, we outlined why we were doing this, and how we were going to measure success. We selected the perfect venue. I don’t recommend hosting the workshop at your place of business, because you don’t want the audience to be distracted with the day to day of the operation. We purchased things such as markers, sticky notes, and paper board.

We started the day by outlining a few things such as what is the difference between customer service and customer experience. I introduced them to my People First culture and 3P strategy, and explained how it would impact their dental practice. And we also role-played it through the movie theatre experience so that I could get them to start thinking about a customer journey of something that they’re familiar with.

I then broke the company into groups of five. Here’s some best practices in doing that. Ensure that departments separate themselves. For example, I didn’t allow dentists or hygienists to group themselves together. Perhaps you’re going to want to separate your sales, marketing team, or customer service team. Next, you’re going to want to appoint a note taker and a presenter within each individual group. We outlined five stages within the customer journey: awareness, booking, arrival, procedure, and post procedure.

Give them a real world example and have them define the customer persona. For Taunton Village Dental, I asked them to outline the customer journey for a new hygiene patient. Let’s evaluate the five different stages before we move forward. The awareness stage for a dental practice could be receiving a piece of direct mail, listening to a radio campaign, or seeing a Facebook ad. The booking touchpoint could include calling the practice to reserve an appointment, using some sort of booking software, or emailing them.

The arrival stage could include driving your car into their parking lot, opening the door of the practice, speaking to some of their friendly team members, plus much more. The procedure stage within the customer journey could include walking into the operatory, turning on Netflix, meeting the hygienists, plus much more. The post procedure stage could include billing, filing for insurance, leaving the practice, and receiving a follow up survey.

Let’s think about a different industry for a moment. My industry is hospitality, and when we hosted our customer journey mapping workshop, we outlined 37 different customer touch points within the entire customer journey just for one customer persona. Think about your industry for a moment. If you hosted a customer journey mapping workshop with your company, how many different interactions would your team members outline throughout the entire experience?

To improve your customer experience by hosting a customer journey mapping workshop, there are a few best practices to adhere to. Encourage your team to have an optimistic viewpoint when doing this. Having naysayers and negative people involved in this process will be demoralizing. As a matter of fact, get these people entirely out of your business. Ensure that you’ve selected a customer persona and outlined five to seven different stages within the customer journey.

Focus on the current state of the customer experience. Don’t outline what you want to create for your customers in the future. That will come later. Outline every touchpoint, macro and micro, and don’t just outline the touch points you excel in. And if there are multiple touch points that intersect each other. For example, if your customer can buy tickets to the movie theatre online and offline, then you can label those touch points as 3A and touch point 3B.

There is no one size fits all to host a customer journey mapping workshop for your company. After all, every industry is different. It took Taunton Village Dental four hours to outline the customer journey for just one customer persona. Once you’ve outlined at least one customer journey, you’re going to want to have each group present their findings. Now this is where it becomes interesting. You’re going to observe whether your team is aligned or not. In all my years of hosting customer journey mapping workshops for companies big and small, I have not experienced an organization present the exact same findings.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it will create awareness that the organization needs to create greater alignment behind the customer experience. Before moving forward, I will have the entire organization sign off on what they believe that customer journey is. Now is the time that I will introduce you to my traffic light model. Now, this is how customer journey mapping is going to improve your customer experience. I want you to go through every single interaction and label it: red, yellow, or green. Red is where customer retention is being negatively impacted. Yellow is threatened to turn red unless you do something on an operational level. And green are the interactions that your customers absolutely love you for.

You don’t want to label things red, yellow, or green anecdotally. Leverage customer feedback such as Google reviews, customer surveys, and any type of feedback that you’re able to gather from a customer advisory board to ensure that you’re labeling each interaction correctly. Share the interactions that you’ve labeled green with your sales and marketing teams. I suggest this because if your customers of today love you for certain interactions within your customer journey, don’t you think perspective customers will also love you for those same interactions.

Have your sales team include these interactions within their sales presentation and have your marketing include it within their marketing mix. I wouldn’t suggest starting with yellow interactions unless it’s an easy fix because you want to begin with the red interactions, because that is where the bleeding is happening. I’m sure you’re going to be eager and motivated and want to tackle every red interaction at once, but I actually recommend against doing that, largely because of bandwidth and being able to effectively improve the operation.

Start with the red interactions that are negatively impacting customer retention, sales, and profitability. Begin with one red touchpoint. Create an operational improvement plan. Then don’t move on to the second, until the first has started to trend downward. Once you’ve completed all the red, then move on to the yellow interactions. Here’s a great thing that I have within my business that I wanted to share with you that will help you improve your customer experience.

Create a service level agreement. Within my business, our service level agreement is that we will create three operational improvement plans every quarter. This ensures that your customer experience doesn’t remain stagnant. Hosting customer journey mapping to improve your customer experience isn’t for beginners, but when you are able to implement it within your organization, you will reap tremendous value and benefits to continuously serve your customers and build your business.

Here’s the testimonial of a client that I recently hosted a workshop for:

Thank you Michel for your inspirational presentation. After you left, we went through an exercise to identify short term, longterm, cross departmental, and crazy ass ideas to put into practice at Century Lock. I expected our team to come up with 20 to 30 solid ideas, and I was blown away as we came up with almost 100. Thanks again for your help inspiring our culture and customer experience leadership.

This company generated 100 new ideas to improve their customer experience. By no means is that common. However, if you host a customer journey mapping workshop for your company, whether it’s 10, 20, or 35 new ideas, customer journey mapping has proven to improve an organization’s customer experience and bring the organization together to think about that next great customer experience strategy.

There you have it. That is how customer journey mapping will improve your customer experience regardless of the size of your business or the industry.

Along the way, if you need help, feel free to contact me directly (michel@michelfalcon.com). We can jump on the phone, and I can answer any questions you might have.

Brian Scudamore Interview: How To Grow A Business By Focusing On Company Culture

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Brian Scudamore, CEO of O2E brands, to discuss how he went door-to-door with a single truck to creating 300,000,000+ in revenue each year!

Brian and the 1-800-Got-Junk? team is where I started my career in Vancouver many years ago. It was here that was first exposed to company culture and putting people over profits.

Click the video above to see the full interview or read the transcript below!

MICHEL: Ladies and gentlemen, I am with Brian Scudamore. You know his background. You know his history. I’m going to jump in to the first question. It has to do with defining success for yourself as an individual. You have built a company that does hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. You’ve impacted the lives of customers, employees, and community. You don’t come across as the type of guy that needs the Ferrari. How do you define success?

BRIAN: Yeah, I don’t need a Ferrari. I wouldn’t want a Ferrari. I’d love to go … It’s on my 101 life goals list to rent a Ferrari in Italy for a weekend and go drive the coast. That would be cool. I can appreciate the sportsmanship of the car and the mechanics and so on, but that wouldn’t make me happy. The happiness would fade after a day of driving a Ferrari. Why would I want to own one? I wouldn’t feel right in one. I’m not a fancy guy.

To me, success, and I think as we all get older, which we all are every day, is you get smarter and wiser. I think for me, what success is and what I understand motivates me is making a difference in people’s lives. I would way rather watch someone else, a franchise partner of ours, if that’s what they wanted, was go buy a Ferrari. Paul Guy who was in Toronto, who’s our most successful franchise partner, he was the first. You know him. $16 million in revenue now a year in Toronto with 1-800-GOT-JUNK. He owns an Audi R8. Good for him, right?

That’s important to him. That’s a goal. Awesome. I love watching people build success and have an impact with what we’re doing, because they’re taking our recipe, whether it’s Shack Shine or Wow 1 Day Painting, to get into a franchise and they go build it to me. To me, I feel a part of helping make meaning much more than the making money.

MICHEL: One of the slogans you have within the company is it’s all about people. On the surface that could seem like a platitude and a great rallying point. How do you take it’s all about people and embed it into the DNA of the company and impact hundreds of franchisees and get thousands of employees to follow behind that?

BRIAN: That’s an awesome question. To make it more than just a platitude …

It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the junction, our head office. You’ve come in and rather than seeing a brand, you see it’s all about people with my name below it. Where that started, we had a woman who was here years ago, Holly. Holly Goes, “Brian, you always say it’s all about people. Let’s put it up in the front center for everyone to see. Let’s put your name below it so that people know it’s something you stand by as the leader that we can all follow behind.”

Then it is simply, and I say simply, I mean it really is this simple finding the right people who fit with that philosophy. When you were here, you get that it’s all about people. You were a really caring, fun guy around here. You’d sit there and say, “Hey, you guys want to learn to get healthier? Let’s go do some boxing. Let’s go downstairs to the gym. I’ll teach you how to box.” You care about others as they would about you. Find the right people, treat them right. It is all about people. That’s all any brand you own … You’re in the hospitality business, all that, all that you have in any restaurant that’s different from anyone else is really the people who are creating the food, serving the food and are part of the experience.

MICHEL: Whether it’s Netflix, O2E or my company, we’ve achieved success through company culture. Why is it that some companies or leaders still on going all in with company culture?

I think A, there’s a bit of a company leaders don’t always know how to build culture.

BRIAN: Yeah, or lack of skill. I mean, think of this, people who know how to run a good party, that’s creating culture within your home or within your business, wherever you’re throwing the party. Why can’t you put the same care and attention into a company? Make the culture the cult that you have within your organization where you’re like, “This is the party we’re living.” Every party isn’t full of tons of booze and people just screaming and going crazy. Whatever a party looks like to you as a company leader, create that same environment within your business. People overthink it. What are all the contests? What are all the rewards? Just think of the type of people you want to invite to the party first. Then sit there and say, “How do we grow this by holding ourselves accountable to the right people we’ve got on the bus?” When you’ve got the wrong people in one of your restaurants or in one of my companies, get those wrong people out. It could just be that the wrong people right now for the business or they’re in the wrong seat and maybe there’s a way to get them in the right seat.

MICHEL: Is there a company that you admire for their culture that you learn from?

BRIAN: Who do I admire for culture. I think one of them, and I talk about it way too much, but I also love the coffee side of the business, is Starbucks. The reason why I talk about them so much is they’ve got so many locations across the planet, and somehow every single time I go into a Starbucks in Saskatoon, in southern California, it doesn’t matter where it is, the barista says hello, smiles, says goodbye, says thank you.

“They just have a warmth about them. How is that possible that from store-to-store, region-to-region, country-to-country they’ve been able to maintain that? I admire that.”

I think if I look at 1-800-GOT-JUNK or any of our brand, Shack Shine, our methodology is hire happy people. I think that while we didn’t take that phrase from anywhere, but it’s our own, I think Starbucks does that.

MICHEL: Do you think it’s harder to control when you’re franchised the employees, I hate to use the word control, manage rather, when you are a franchise versus corporate or licensed?

BRIAN: Is it harder when you’re franchised? I’m going to give you the old yes and no. I mean, as a franchise owner, someone comes in. If you’ve picked the right franchise owner, I think it’s easier. Because if you’ve gotten that right, you have someone who’s got skin in the game, who’s got ownership, who goes,

“This is my culture. It’s going to be slightly different than Brian’s culture or O2E’s culture, but we’ve got the same values. I care about it enough that I’m going to make sure we always find and treat people right.”

I think as a franchise organization it becomes harder if you didn’t get the right franchise owner. I think there’s a lot more failing franchise owners out there than there are successful ones, because if you don’t find the right people, it just implodes quickly.

MICHEL: When I was working with you, I understood my purpose very clearly and that was to one day get into entrepreneurship. I didn’t know, I had no idea that ended up in the restaurants. My agreement with the company, and it was just kind of a self agreement, was I’m going to give myself to the brand. During that time, I’ll contribute to their success, and I’m going to learn entrepreneurship in this environment. If employees within the organization aren’t clear on their purpose, how can a leader help them discover it?

BRIAN: I think a leader can help people discover purpose by just asking questions. If I’m sitting down with young Michelle in the sales center answering phones, doing customer experience work, I’m asking you like “What really motivates you in life?” You think about it. You might have trouble answering that question. I try and push and dive deeper. I’m like, “Why? Why is that important? Why do you love doing that? When are you most alive? When do you most energized?” I think that a leader’s job is to help create followers. How you create followers? Get them connected to you. Learn more about them as a person. What interests and excites them? Help them uncover their purpose in life. Help drive them forward.

MICHEL: How would you describe your leadership style?

BRIAN: I think I lead by trying to throw possibility out there. Simon Sinek, he used to be on our board years ago. I remember he helped me uncover, through a lot of questions, what is my why? He did a brilliant job with it. It really turned into some level of, I create big possibilities and share them with the world. Like magic, some of them might happen. My leadership style is giving big ideas out there to others or helping them find big ideas in themselves and saying, “Hey, maybe we can actually make magic here.” Imagine being in a third country. Imagine having a fourth brand. Just thinking big ideas. Imagine getting on the Oprah Winfrey show.

MICHEL: Which of those that you did?

BRIAN: Yeah, we did the third company or the fourth company. We did the third country. All three of those examples I gave you happened. I didn’t do any one of them. I came up with the idea, but I wasn’t the one executing it. My why, my purpose and leadership style would be inspire with big ideas and create room for others to go out there and make them happen.

MICHEL: Past or present, who would you want on your advisory board that you haven’t had in the past or don’t have right now?

BRIAN: Yeah, that’s a good question. Past or present, who would I want on my advisory board? Nobody. I don’t want an advisory board. We don’t have one any longer. Here’s why.

MICHEL: Why? Because you did.

BRIAN: We did for years. No disrespect to anyone on that board, because they gave a lot of time and energy. What I feel when you’ve got an advisory board and you bring people together, it’s hard for the leader, the entrepreneur to distill whose advice is the best advice.

MICHEL: But don’t you think that you should have been like, “I trust all of these people, therefore I would want to take their advice, because they might come with different expertise.”

BRIAN: Yeah, I trusted them.

MICHEL: This is the first time I’ve ever heard anybody say that, and I love it.

BRIAN: I trusted my board. What would happen is sometimes we’d get this group think. People are like, “Oh yeah, yeah, we all agree you need to do that.”

MICHEL: Sure.

BRIAN: But I wouldn’t necessarily agree. My gut would say, “I don’t need to do that.” Then what do you do? You’re going against your board. What I prefer, this might just be me, I wouldn’t want to pick one key person to be on my advisory board. I would want to pick key advisors that I go to to learn from.

MICHEL: Got it.

BRIAN: I do that all day long.

MICHEL: Who is you have yet to connect with that that you’re like, “Him or her, I need to get time with that person?”

BRIAN: Yeah, everybody I’ve met with that I felt that way about, you realize there’s a bit of a rockstar in them. Whether it’s a Gary Vaynerchuk, who I met with recently or Fred Deluca started Subway, you get these great people. You meet with them, but then you kind of get a level of, not disappointment about them, but you kind of go, “Wow, they’re just real people like I am right or like you are.” It’s almost like getting behind the curtain of the Wizard of Oz. You’re like, “Whoa, you’re just this little person.” I think I enjoy connecting with random strangers. When I’m on a plane, when I’m traveling somewhere, I’m sitting on a train in Europe, and you just meet someone beside you and you start connecting and talking and getting different perspective, that’s the type of advice I love to hear. I love to hear what people are saying about our business and their own innovative ideas rather than connecting necessarily with the rockstars.

MICHEL: Would you suggest that companies are extraordinarily marketing centric before their customer experience focused?

BRIAN: Focused on marketing before customer service? Absolutely not.

MICHEL: No?

BRIAN: No, I think you need to focus on customer service.

MICHEL: It’s not, what do you think we should be doing? What do you think of companies are doing? If you were to look at …

BRIAN: Oh, what do I think companies are doing?

MICHEL: Yeah.

BRIAN: Yeah, no, I think companies are doing it wrong. I think companies are focusing on marketing first and then customer experience. I think you need to flip it. You should have 1/10th of the business and do it really, really, really well before you get up there and market it more. Wow 1 Day Painting, our painting company can go in and paint someone’s home in a day. I want our franchise partners to go in and just nail the job and get it perfect, so that that person is then talking to their neighbors, their friends, their family and saying, “Have you heard of this Wow 1 Day Painting company? They come in. They paint your home in a day.” I want them to be so blown away because of the attention to detail and the care that our franchise owner gave, rather than that franchise owner going, “Let’s go market the crap out of this business. Let’s just get so much business. We can grow this like crazy.” You can grow it organically first, figure out the system, then layer on.

MICHEL: We’re using a lot of the jargon, the organic growth that I absolutely gravitate towards and just the controlled growth. When it comes to customer experience, how are you equating the ROI of your efforts financially?

BRIAN: Yeah, when it comes to customer experience, we’d like to measure NPS.

MICHEL: Sure.

BRIAN: You were all about NPS here as well. We want to measure our net promoter score to see how we’re doing. Across brands, it varies from high 80s to low 90s, which is awesome. We’re proud of that. I don’t think we’re really quantifying the ROI of customer experience.

MICHEL: Is that a bad thing?

BRIAN: I think we’re almost not trying to quantify it, because it’s just hire awesome people, take care of those people. Here’s my belief. We say this in our painted picture, or vision for our brands. Take care of your people, and they’ll take care of your customer. Take care of your customer, and they’ll take care of the brand and the future growth. With taking care of your people, most companies say, “Oh, the customer is king. The customer’s queen. They’re always right.” No, you know your employee is the king or queen. Treat them with love and respect. Watch how they will then go on to take care of the customer.

MICHEL: Do you think that it’s easier for you and I, because we own private companies? What about the individual, the CFO or the controller of the publicly traded company that needs to report to the street every three months, easier said than done?

BRIAN: No, I think you always take care of your people first. A CFO still has customers. They still know and they’re smart enough to know that the bills are being paid and the money’s rolling in because of whatever product or service they’re selling. They take care of their team, and they do a really great job. Finance is an incredibly important part of the customer experience. If people aren’t getting paid on time and the payment experiences isn’t easy, customers don’t feel valued and then they don’t give value to … employees don’t feel valued and then they don’t give value to the customer. Everybody plays a role.

MICHEL: As a consumer, what companies are you admiring right now for their customer experience other than Starbucks?

BRIAN: Other than Starbucks? Who am I admiring? I think Air Canada, this is interesting because I wouldn’t have said this years ago. Air Canada does a brilliant job in business class. Now I fly coach, but I fly enough that I often get upgraded. I feel like I’ve just won the lottery, because the service in their business class is just so smiley and professional and unbelievable. I think they’ve got an opportunity to figure out how to do it in economy. I think they do such a good job in business class. I feel like, “Are they paying those people more in business class?” Probably not. There’s a level of expectation of the service that needs to be provided. Why can’t you provide that in economy? They do a good job and a not so great job. Who else am I loving right now?

MICHEL: I love that you mentioned Air Canada. My mom’s worked for Air Canada for 30 years.

BRIAN: I ran into your mom at the airport.

MICHEL: Yeah, I told her this morning. I was like, “I’m going to go see Brian.” “Tell him I say hi.”

BRIAN: Yeah, your mom’s awesome. She’s a great women.

MICHEL: She’s worked with him for 33 years as a front line employee. Her relationship with the brand is very, very strong. Therefore, she brings her whole self to work for 33 years. You get that outcome. With NPS and the data that you collect from your customers, going to your strategic planning and budgeting for the year, if the ROI isn’t going to show up on your PNL for 12 to 24 months, do you still make that bet?

BRIAN: If the ROI for what isn’t going to show it for 12 to 24?

MICHEL: If you’re wanting to build initiatives that are going to positively impact the customer experience, but the ROI is 12 to 24 months out.

BRIAN: Yeah, I think it’s so hard to even measure that the ROI is ever there, right? Like my previous answer, I don’t know if we measure it really that closely, because I don’t know if you can. It’s like someone saying, “Hey, here’s the rating I give you as being a good friend right now.” It’s hard to measure that experience and that connection. I think it’s really just you know the right thing to do. Put money into it, enough money that makes sense, and you’re not spending too much.

Customer service is something got to invest in. You can’t grow a brand without being an amazing at what you do.

I think companies that do well at it, Airbnb I think is also great of listening to their customers and listening to their people that are renting places and just getting feedback from their community. I met with the company. I met a guy, Bill, who’s the chief of marketing, chief of community for Yeti. Yeti makes these coolers and drink holders and so on. I was impressed with how much he travels around connecting with the community to understand, and they’re a billion dollar plus company, understand what the customer’s love, opportunities for improvement and just really having that connection to make things better.

MICHEL: When you were in New York with Gary Vaynerchuk, you guys talked about entrepreneurship. I’m paraphrasing, but Gary said something along the lines of entrepreneurship is a really hot topic right now. It seems like everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. Can everybody be an entrepreneur?

BRIAN: I think there’s differing degrees of entrepreneurship. I think that you can get out there and start a small business and sell stuff on Etsy. Is that an entrepreneur? Yeah, you’re entrepreneurial. I think the old school term of an entrepreneur as a real risk taker, getting out there and building something from nothing and growing it. Not Everybody’s cut out to do that. We have a woman who works with us here at Tressa who’s run some businesses. She’s helping with Shack Shine. She’s like, “I don’t want to be an entrepreneur again.” She loves processes and systems and building things, but she didn’t want to go up and just start from scratch and be alone and work through that lonely phase and so on. It isn’t for everyone.

Can everyone be one? I think what I love about O2E brands is I feel like we’re building something bigger and better together versus what we would have ever chosen to do alone. People can choose their degree of entrepreneurship. Someone can run an entire brand, like a Wow 1 Day Painting or You Move Me or someone can be a franchise owner in Shack Shine, building grow their local territory, Toronto, San Francisco, whatever it is. I think it’s a bit of a choose your own adventure type model where pick what you want to do. I think there’s very few people that want to do it all and start from scratch like I might have 30 years ago. The best part of my business career is every time I’ve gotten rid of something to allow others to come in, like Eric Church is our COO, to have others build this with me and to do a better job in just about every area of the business than I ever could. That’s what I love.

MICHEL: What would Brian of today tell the 20 year olds who are wanting to get into entrepreneurship?

BRIAN: Yeah, so for those that do to get into entrepreneurship, I think, we’ve certainly seen a model of franchising is one where a franchise partner can come in with a bit of a springboard and learn from us and grow with a bit of a recipe of success versus starting from scratch. I think I would say to that younger audience, “Don’t shy away from franchising and that learning through someone else’s mistakes.” The other thing I would say is anybody that does go out at whatever level of entrepreneurship is understanding that failure, and I know you’ve got my book prominently displayed, my book WTF, Willing to Fail. I wrote the book without a title. We finished the book, Roy Williams, my coauthor and I. We closed the book and went, okay, “now what’s the title?” It just jumped out, because it was stories of ups and downs, ups and downs, plenty of failures. We just came up with this WTF, Willing to Fail.

What I would tell the 18 year olds in the world who want to start something is understand that failure is your best friend. Failure is a gift. You are going to make mistakes if you’re going to be an entrepreneur. You’re going to make plenty. You’re going to make some that cost you your business. It’s okay. Take the learning from every failure to understand that it will get you to a better place if you allow it.

MICHEL: If you were to pick one failure that you’ve experienced in your career that has allowed you to be the CEO you are today, what’s the one that resonates with you the most?

BRIAN: I don’t think there is one that resonates most. They were all stepping stones to certain points. I needed to make all the mistakes. People say, “What would you have done differently if you could do anything differently?” Nothing. I needed to learn it all. The one that resonates from a relatability standpoint that I think people can get is 1994, five years into the business. Nine bad apples. One spoils the whole bunch. I had 11 employees. I brought them all in to the business. I said, “I’m sorry guys, I’ve let you down. I don’t have the right team, the right people. You’re not the people that I see in building this professional junk removal business. I might’ve made the wrong hires. I haven’t given you the love and support.” I parted ways with my entire company. I fired my entire company. Went from five trucks down to one, because that’s all I could drive, and then rebuilding the business. That was me learning from a massive failure that you’re only as good as your people. Find the right people, treat them right. I vowed that day never to make a hiring mistake again. Have I made them? Of course, but very few relative to where I would’ve gone hadn’t I decided to very intentionally recruit people in the company.

MICHEL: Guys, on that note, here’s the book. You can find it on Amazon. Just Google it. Don’t just buy one copy. Buy a handful. Buy it for your your team. Brian, I have been able to build a career that I’m absolutely in love with. It’s literally, it started here. My recommendation for anybody watching this who is one you get into entrepreneurship is learn first. If you have the opportunity to work with a company and contribute to their success and get paid to do so and be able to understand in a real environment, that is what helped me. My business partners and I have had an advantageous position, because we’ve built the systems and processes sophisticated enough to operate within $100 million company. I learned it here. On that note, Brian, thank you so much.

BRIAN: Yeah, thank you.

MICHEL: I appreciate it.

BRIAN: I think you give way too much credit to 1-800-GOT-JUNK, because you say, “Oh, it got started here.” I’ve met your mother. She a wonderful lady. It got started when she helped raise you and probably a lit a spark in you. Congratulations.

MICHEL: She’s melting right now. Thank you so much.

How To Host A Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

Today, I’m in Oshawa, Ontario working with Taunton Village Dental to help them improve their customer experience by hosting a customer journey mapping workshop. I’m going to introduce them to my people first culture and three piece strategy. Introduce them to customer personality types and how to manage behaviors, plus much, much more.

Customer journey mapping will give you an advantage over your competitors…

because you’re going to be continuously refining the interactions that they experience when doing business with you from beginning to end. My recommendation is to improve the customer experience by deploying at least three customer-facing initiatives per quarter.

“And I cannot think of, or know of anybody that’s got more experience and is more on the cutting edge of the customer experience and the customer’s touchpoints and improving them, and the results that I’ve had so far have been unbelievable.” – Dr. Steve Mascarin, Founder of Taunton Village Dental 

Customer journey mapping workshops will improve your organization’s…

customer experience because your company will be continuously refining the interactions within the customer experience which will influence greater customer loyalty and grow your business.

“With asking for my staff’s input on what they think a customer experience would entail, I was able to get more of a response from my staff, therefore they went above and beyond for our patients, because they felt like they had involvement in the process. So, therefore the things we implemented were always followed, because they felt like they were part of something that was happening in the office, rather than just being directed to do it.” – Sherry Fitzpatrick, Director, Operations at Taunton Village Dental

The key outcomes of posting a customer journey mapping workshop are…

to bring together the entire organization where each and every department is represented. During the workshop, you’re responsible for identifying each customer interaction within the customer journey.

Posting a customer journey mapping workshop acts as an operational improvement strategy, because you will identify the strengths and the opportunities that your organization has to improve the customer experience and earn customer loyalty.

“I’m so much further ahead of my competitors in my industry, and I don’t think there’s any way they’re gonna catch me now because I’ve been working with Michel.” – Dr. Steve Mascarin, Founder of Taunton Village Dental 

To contact Michel about hosting a customer journey mapping workshop for your company, simply email michel@michelfalcon.com.

Does It Matter What You Wear To Work?

Welcome to another People-First Monday video!

This week, I’m asking you does it matter what you wear to work?

This conversation was prompted by a discussion that I had with someone who gave me some feedback. He said that it was unprofessional that I wore Nike sneakers as a part of my attire during one of my keynotes.

We had a very respectful conversation but imagine if I had said this, “Sir, I find it disrespectful that you are wearing a suit that is three times too big for you.” Wouldn’t that have sound obnoxious? Essentially, that is what he was telling me by saying I shouldn’t wear Nikes to a keynote.

I am wearing a hat and Nike shirt today, and I have two very important meetings but…

I want the people that I’m meeting today to hire me based on my skill, not based on what I’m wearing.

I’m comfortable today. This is the attire that I like to wear. If I’m comfortable, I’m going to produce better results for the person that I’m engaging with. Isn’t that the most important part?

Let me know in the comments section. Does it matter what you wear to work? I trust that you guys all have your own opinions so let’s get the conversation going. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

5 Employee Management Tips to Boost Employee Morale

Managing employees isn’t hard!

I’m not saying this to shock and awe you.

I believe managing employees isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. We simply need to adhere to some sound employee management tips and strategies to become great companies.

As leaders, we generally make it hard on ourselves to manage our employees and the outcome is a poor experience for our team members which negatively impacts their perception of you as their leader and paralyzes their morale and performance.

I’ve come a long way in my leadership ability to manage a team. I’ve recognized that my management style is different than yours and different than those of my business partners and peers.

I don’t believe I’m any better or worse than the next person, I just know, full heartedly, that my management style is right for me.

Dating back to my time at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? I was groomed by people like Brian Scudamore and Patrick Louis. I took some of what Brian and Patrick taught me and found my own style.

More recently, I’ve taken advice from Danny Meyers, Howard Behar and Patty McCord. I now define my leadership style as being a benevolent and servant leader to the 150 employees we have today at my businesses in Toronto.

For the last decade, from afar, I’ve studied great leaders like Kat Cole, Jimmy Iovine and many others to share five employee management tips to boost employee morale.

I hope you enjoy this post, consider leaving a comment below and share it with your colleagues.

Understand Their Purpose (as an individual, not employee)

My book is titled, People-First Culture: Build a Lasting Business By Shifting Your Focus From Profits to People. I define People-First Culture by building a business that your employees and customers will admire.

Simple, right?

On the surface you may think, “Yes, it’s simple enough.” But, I beg to ask you, “If it’s so simple then why isn’t every company admired?”

To become “People-First” I’ve created something I call the 3P Strategy: Purpose, Process then Profit.

Within purpose, I advocate that a benevolent and servant leader must intimately understand the purpose of each team member who directly reports into them…with or without the company. Let me explain…

employee moral

Take Christina Parihar as an example. Christina is a star! She has risen the ranks of our company remarkably. She went from a server, to a shift leader and now she’s a Manager at one of our venues. But, management of our restaurant isn’t her true career purpose. It’s to become the Director, Learning & Development for our company.

This is her career purpose and as one of her leaders it’s my job to get her there. This is an example of helping someone achieve their purpose with the company.

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Meet Riley. He’s one of the top bartenders at our venues. He’s going to leave my company very soon and I’m happy about this.

I’m happy because we, as a company, are going to facilitate his exit so he can pursue his career purpose.

You see, Riley has been studying hard for years to graduate from university. He will graduate and pursue a career in biotech on the business development side of the industry.

Once Riley graduates I will personally take ownership, exhaust energy and connect him with people in my network who will interview him and hopefully hire him. This is an example of understanding a team member’s purpose and helping them reach their goals.

I once read this quote and it really resonated with me:

“Be a great company to be from.”

When I work with my management teams I share that a great employee management tip is to understand their team’s purpose and share in their success.

Clear (I mean, VERY clear) Definition and Visibility of Goals

This is where we make it hard on ourselves when it comes to managing employees and developing them during our meetings and review.

How on earth are we suppose to manage our team if goals aren’t clear and visible?

My partners use a weekly dashboard meeting to review their goals with their direct reports.

I use something called weekly GS&R’s (Goal Setting & Review).

Maybe you use something else. But, whatever, you do…use something! If you’re hiring high performers and want to manage their performance and morale, goals need to be clearly defined and visible.

Great! We have the framework in place but how are we adhering to the framework? Are we cancelling these weekly meetings? Is it a time where we passively review recent performances or do we dig deep and put everything under a microscope.

Cameron Herold once said, “Meetings don’t suck…we just suck at running meetings.” Managing your team during their reviews (which should be done regularly, not yearly) must happen often and with a clear definition of success and visibility.

Gather Employee Intelligence (EI) to Create Never-Seen-Before Experiences

I refer to employee intelligence as things you learn about your team members throughout their tenure with your company (the same can be done for customers). The most admired companies use this intelligence to create experiences for their team (and customers) that they have never seen before. These experiences build admired, People-First Culture companies.

RELATED: 3 Employee Engagement Training Strategies (video)  

Our employees have intimate conversations with us, their leaders, on a daily basis. And at times, these conversations may be falling on deaf ears, or equally as bad, are being acknowledged with unenthusiastic responses.

Let’s put this into action by way of a real-world example.

An employee tells me they have a big exam coming up. I ask for the date of the exam and record it in my phone to remind me three days before. The same day that I get the notification reminding me of the exam, I think to myself, “What would one need to help them prepare for this exam?”

One of the first things that comes to mind was one of those Sage scented vaporizers to use the evening before the exam to relax my team member before the big day.

Not all employee intelligence gestures need to be delivered with a high monetary value. For example, if your team member tells you their mother’s name or their favourite sports team, you can simply…

  • Ask how Rosa’s doing
  • Text them when their team wins a big game

One trick here is to use your phone to capture the data. Don’t leave it up to memory to remember these moments of employee intelligence.

When I host my Breakfast N’ Jam sessions I often find myself excusing myself to the bathroom so I can write things in my phone so I don’t appear rude by doing so at the table.

Find Them Another Leader to Learn From

You can’t be the only person that your employee learns from. After all, you’re not an expert in everything and neither am I. I’m constantly trying to find other professionals that my team can learn from.

These teachings can come from a book, podcast or in-person and virtual coaching. Here are a few examples of when I’ve found members of my team other people to learn from.

  • Jordan Lopez: his marketing prowess exceeded my skill set so we purchased Brian Dean’s YouTube online course for him.
  • Melissa Smilie: someone who has a tremendous future ahead of her, I recommended she read Patty McCord’s ‘Powerful: Build a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” book as she’s going to need to learn how to develop high performing teams.
  • Max Romer: a team member who will be leaving my company to pursue a career in finance, I connected him with someone I know working within the finance department at Microsoft Canada.

Did I  already possess some of these skill sets? Yes, but, like I mentioned, your team needs to learn from people other than you to help continuously manage their morale.

Take action: This week, ask each of your direct reports one thing they want to learn within the next 90 days then go out and find an external subject matter expert for them.

Tell Them to Invest in Themselves

In 2014, I wrote a Linkedin article that received some great traction. I titled it, “Employees Need to Be Responsible For Their Own Development.”

You, as a leader at your company, can only develop so many people. Your bandwidth eventually will reach its limit. There needs to be a mutual understanding between you and your direct reports and it goes like this…

“I will give myself to you BUT you must give yourself to your own development.”

As my Linkedin post above suggests, Michael Jordan didn’t become Michael Jordan by only shooting free throws during designated practice time. He became great by putting in work on his own time.

Beyonce became Beyonce by singing, singing and singing some more at home, not just in church.

Building a high performing team is a counter balance between the leader and the team member. The leader must provide stewardship but ultimately it’s up to the employee to grow themselves.

When I was growing my career in my early 20’s I invested time to reading, watching YouTube videos and reaching out to professionals on Linkedin to ask if I could ask them a few questions. Today, in a way, I’m still an employee. We have investors that count on us to pay them a return. To do so, I must continuously invest in my education. I invest in paying 5-figures to attend retreats and workshops. I read books and listen to podcasts to level-up my game.

Take these employee management tips and apply them within your business. I’m not suggesting doing all five tactics immediately. Start with one or two, build some momentum then add another.

Leave a comment below: which employee management tip resonates with you the most and why?

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.