• September 1, 2008
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

Required Reading: Shhh…It’s a Secret

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You have a business. You have customers. It comes down to a pretty simple equation: Good business + happy customers = $$$. Then again, when was math ever so easy? If there’s one thing customers can count on today, it’s variety of choice. Therefore, companies are finding multiple methods for solving problems. One thing’s for sure: The “business” component of your equation needs to be much more than just what you sell. In his latest book, What’s the Secret?, John DiJulius III, president of The DiJulius Group, identifies a hidden variable—delivering the best customer service—that may just win you the highest grade in the class. CRM’s Assistant Editor Jessica Tsai recently spoke with DiJulius:

CRM magazine: So what is the secret?

John DiJulius: The biggest secret is people’s service aptitude. Where businesses make a mistake is where they think customer service is common sense. [Employees are] given the technical and operational product knowledge and then set loose. Oftentimes, they’ve never flown First Class, never stayed at a five-star resort, and never driven a Mercedes Benz, but [companies] want them to give that experience to the clients, and that’s unrealistic. It’s not the employees’ fault; your service aptitude is really based on your life experiences. The second part of that is [the older generations] were forced to have the people skills; the younger generation doesn’t. We’re not skipping them, but we have to help bridge the gap of what they weren’t forced to have and what they need to have.

CRM: How do companies begin to bridge that gap?

DiJulius: Through soft skill training. They need to learn about engagement and how to anticipate some of the needs [of consumers] and personal service—all those things just don’t come as natural as [they might have] toprevious generations. The most-recently-hired, least-trained, lowest-paid employee is dealing with your customers the most. How many customers does the CEO see a day? Our businesses are being run by the new generation.

CRM: Where do companies even begin?

DiJulius: The book is broken down into 10 “commandments.” The first one, where everyone should start, is having a service vision. Everyone complains about the younger generation, about how they don’t get it—the younger generations don’t want to be part of a shift; they want to be part of a cause.

CRM: Can you explain this idea of having a “5-year-old mentality”?

DiJulius: Just keep asking “Why?” Keep pushing, and if you dig deep enough, there’s a higher purpose out there that your employees are willing to believe in.

CRM: What did you feel was missing in the industry that motivated you to write this?

DiJulius: Everyone wants to live in an instant society, to see the stock price go up. Improving your customer service today won’t do that, but in time—six, eight, or 12 months from now—you’ll have a culture that goes above and beyond, and price becomes irrelevant. CRM is really the most powerful tool. It’s creating hidden systems. I like to call them “silent cues” that allow you to provide great service. We’re [each] just an account number today, but when we can find someone that actually knows us, sometimes we’ll pay a premium to feel like a human being!

Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.

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