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Today’s guest teaches business leaders about the importance of relationship building in the digital age. He argues that in spite of (and because of) the advances in tech, we’ve become a less connected society. We have dramatically evolved away from face-to-face communication, and the skill of building rapport is evaporating. This means that customer personalisation and relationships are more important now than ever–and they will be the key to success for businesses moving forward. As he aptly states, “Being able to build true sustainable relationships is the biggest competitive advantage in a world where automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are eliminating the human experience, which is what creates the emotional connections that build true customer loyalty.” This book reminds readers of the importance of personal connections and shows them how to attain meaningful, lasting relationships with their customers.
We welcome John R. DiJulius, the author of The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age
More about John here: https://thedijuliusgroup.com/bio-john-dijulius/
The Relationship Economy on The Innovation Show
Aidan McCullen: [00:00:17] today’s guest teaches business leaders about the importance of relationship building in the digital age.
[00:00:23] He argues that in spite of, and because of the advances in tech, we’ve become a less connected society. We have dramatically evolved from face to face communication. And the skill of building rapport is evaporating. This means the customer personalization and relationships are more important than ever before being able to build true sustainable relationships is the biggest competitive advantage in the world where automation, artificial intelligence. And machine learning are eliminating the human experience, which is why creates the emotional connections that build true customer loyalty. [00:01:00]
[00:01:00]We welcome author of the relationship economy, building stronger customer connections in the digital age john DiJulius. Welcome to the show.
[00:01:10] John DiJulius: [00:01:10] Thank you. It’s such an honor to be on.
[00:01:13]Aidan McCullen: [00:01:13] John, you start off the book by saying some skills cannot be cultivated, but the one skill that is essential is the ability to connect with others. Our lives may be high-tech but they’re increasingly low touch.
[00:01:26]John DiJulius: [00:01:26] I will argue other than breathing in oxygen, there is no greater skill. Any of us can work on and focus on that will have a bigger benefit in our personal and professional lives than the art of building a rapport, instant rapport, whether that be with a stranger client, coworker, acquaintance , whoever , the problem is that this isn’t taught anywhere.
[00:01:51] It’s not taught in school. It’s not being taught at home anymore and not enough businesses. Are teaching it. And today’s illiterate are [00:02:00] those who have an inability to make meaningful connections with others.
[00:02:04]Aidan McCullen: [00:02:04] And we know social isolation is physically as well as mentally unhealthy. And as you call out the unhealthy side is the same as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
[00:02:14] John DiJulius: [00:02:15] Yeah. I mean, it’s crazy. That’s what doctors have found the same, negative side effects. so if you’re a smoker, you’re really in trouble. there’s also a term called digital dementia and that is, doctors have done brain scans and found, heavy users, heavy, heavy users. Of digital devices, their brain scans look similar to people who’ve suffered brain injuries.
[00:02:37]This is serious, and we’re all guilty of it. this isn’t a generational thing, We love to pick on millennials and gen Z, first off we’re the generation that raised them. So it doesn’t make too much sense, but, we’re the ones that gave him an iPad.
[00:02:50] When they were, five, six and seven to keep them preoccupied so we can, get our stuff done. And so, we have a whole society that is, relationship [00:03:00] disadvantaged at no fault of their own.
[00:03:02]Aidan McCullen: [00:03:02] linked to digital dementia. You mentioned MSA mental stimulation addiction. And you mentioned that this is something use over from an today it’s a total epidemic.
[00:03:12]John DiJulius: [00:03:12] so, mental stimulation is, attrition, for , your brain. think about when you take the cast off, we’ve all probably had a cast once in our lives and you take the cast off , and you have , muscle atrophy.
[00:03:23]well, when we don’t use our brain , we’re having that same, atrophy happening and we’re outsourcing our brains to technology and digital devices. And I’m guilty of all these things and that’s why , it’s great. doing the research and writing this book because it really helped me become more cognizant, but, and I’ve sit in doctor’s office, right.
[00:03:41] Waiting, to be taken. And I pull out my phone and , I’ll check, my emails and taxed and social media and ESPN and headline news and , whatever else. And then , I’ll put it away and without thinking about it, I pull that device back out within 15 to 30 seconds and [00:04:00] check all the exact same places again, like, like what could have changed in that amount of time and, they say , boredom leads to brilliant ideas and we’re not bored enough anymore.
[00:04:10] We’re never sitting still. I mean, unless you’re into yoga and meditating, which I absolutely think is great, but then not enough people are , we don’t just sit in daydream and, , you’ve heard the cliche, which is very true and we get our best ideas in the shower.
[00:04:24] Well, we either need to be taking more showers or, , find ways to have a relationship with ourselves. And, one example, , I love listening to podcasts, right. especially when I work out, but what I try to do a couple of days a week is not listening to anything. And at first it was freaky hard, right.
[00:04:41]but I will tell you when I get back from a workout, I have to run and find paper. It might be paper in the garbage to write down all these thoughts that came to me. while my mind was still. And all of a sudden, you just start thinking of like these great things you should be doing at work or at home or whatever.
[00:04:58]Aidan McCullen: [00:04:58] bringing it back to the workplace. [00:05:00] You cite research that highlights that 89% of senior leaders consider relationships are critical to career success. Yet, only 24% do anything to cultivate relationships. here you list five key skills to develop strong relationships.
[00:05:16]John DiJulius: [00:05:16] the biggest thing, I think everyone needs to realize Make no mistake about it. The decline in social skills that every generation, baby boomers all the way down, we’re all experiencing a decline in our own people skills,
[00:05:31] the decline in, people skills is the problem of business leaders to solve. We can’t skip this generation, again at no fault of their own. we have generations that weren’t, built with the emotional intelligence that many of us had decades to cultivate. So, there’s five things, your orientation soft skill training must help, with the, , art of building relationships, number one must be authentic, number two must have insatiable [00:06:00] curiosity.
[00:06:00]number three, it must have incredible empathy. Number four must love people. And number five must be a great listener. I know for a fact, That four of those that I just rattled off can be taught.
[00:06:17] Now, if you could find employees and candidates with the skill set or a portion of it, you’re that much better off, but I know for a fact that four of these can be taught to people, there’s one that can’t be taught. no matter how much training you someone, you can’t move the needle on this.
[00:06:36] and we have to, , find it on the interview process. muscle of people. Right? I can’t teach you. I can’t teach, , anyone to genuinely love people. if that’s not in right, I mean all the training in the world, and that’s why our interview process has to, , recognize, the ones that do in the don’t. And it doesn’t mean you don’t hire them.
[00:06:55] It means that, you put them in a position that’s not nonhuman [00:07:00] interactive if you have such a position. But, I don’t think we can teach, anyone to love others if they didn’t get it, growing up.
[00:07:06]Aidan McCullen: [00:07:06] let’s stay on that, John. we talked before the show and we said, let’s go down some rabbit holes. Let’s let’s go to the rabbit hole on the interview process. Cause you talk about this. The importance. If you’re going to create a customer loving business that you need to hire for attitude, not aptitude.
[00:07:21] And in order to do that, you have some beautiful tricks where you can set the interview, the setting open in order to explore things, because anybody can put their best foot forward, but you really want to see how they act under pressure.
[00:07:34]John DiJulius: [00:07:34] Yeah. you got to make your interview process on ungamable and what I mean by that is if you’re interviewing me, , for a job, I know. One of your questions is probably going to be something to the, version of John, tell me to draw backs , about you and, I’m ready for that, , while I’m a workaholic and a perfectionist, right.
[00:07:55] Bam. I nailed that. , so people can be prepared in game interviews and give the [00:08:00] answers, that , HR wants to hear, so you want to, you want to do things the employee candidate is never suspecting, so some great best practices. He’s on a first interview, do group interviews.
[00:08:11] So instead of spending an hour, each with six different people, which is a total of six hours, half, six people come in at once and spend an hour with them and go over, , the job and all that. And then in that process, , you ask questions and, a question might be .
[00:08:26] I want each of you to tell me a time when you went above and beyond for a client, or, difficult situation and you had to figure out, the question is really irrelevant. Now, the candidate thinks that they’re being graded on who has the best answer of the six, but what the, , employers should be really looking for.
[00:08:47] Is what are the candidates doing when the other ones are talking right? Is he or she, , peeking at their Apple watch? Are they, checked out days or are they smiling, nodding and making the [00:09:00] person that’s talking at the time, feel good? That’s the candidate we want. another really good one.
[00:09:05] I love the CEO of Charles Schwab does when it’s an executive hire from the outside and, , he or someone has team will take that, executive candidate to a local diner and the diner knows what to do. So the local diner is prepared that anything. You, the candidate orders get screwed up, right?
[00:09:28] I mean, it’s just a cluster where everything, they bring you, if you wanted eggs, they bring your pancakes. If you want to catch up, they bring it to Baska sauce. I mean, it’s just, to see how someone reacts and that kind of environment , and so these things are ungovernable, right. You’re going to show , who you really are and those types situations.
[00:09:47] Aidan McCullen: [00:09:47] I love that one. man, it would be hilarious if somebody listens to the show and they’re just about to go for an interview and they hear this and they’re like, thank God for that T Julius guy. He just, he got me the job. And then you get a letter in the post, but one thing [00:10:00] you mentioned there was.
[00:10:01] How are they reacting when other people are speaking for example, and you mentioned one of the key five skills listening, and I love the piece of research where you highlighted that it takes 0.6 of a second to formulate any answer, but scientists studied hundreds of conversations and found that people answered within 0.2 of a second.
[00:10:23] So that meant that they weren’t listening at all and they were pre preparing their answer. And we had a great guest on the show before Julian treasure on his book is how to be heard. And he called this , script writing and script writing is when you’re speaking, John, I’m preparing my answer, writing my script.
[00:10:42] And this is exactly what these scientists found through multiple research programs.
[00:10:46]John DiJulius: [00:10:46] Stephen Covey , said, people don’t listen with the intent of understanding. They listen with the intent of replying and, , to what you just pointed out in a, how can we be giving a response to something 0.2 seconds. When our brain, it takes, [00:11:00] 0.6 seconds.
[00:11:00] Well, that’s because, and then typical conversation, we have our answer ready, and we’re just waiting for the other person to come up for air so we can, talk. The greatest gift we can give anyone is the gift of our attention. , that’s such a powerful thing personally, professionally. And what I mean by that sometimes, , even when I pull in the driveway on my way home from work, sometimes I can’t go in yet.
[00:11:23] ] I have to sit in the garage for, , five, 10 minutes, I’m not ready to give that gift to my family. I don’t want to go in and not be ready. I have to . we’re all, Preoccupied with what’s going on in our world, genetically coded it’s my flight that was delayed.
[00:11:38] It’s my business. It’s down in sales. It’s my son that might get in trouble at school. Right. but we gotta fight that urge. That if I meet you at for coffee and interview or bumping you at a social gathering, and I talk to you for 15 to 45 minutes, that doesn’t mean we built a rapport.
[00:11:55] I could have been talking to you about myself for 45 minutes. So in [00:12:00] order for you to build a relationship with anyone in a three minute to an hour conversation, you gotta focus on their Ford. F O R D. And that stands for family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. And if you focus on the other person’s FORD number one, it gets you to see off yourself.
[00:12:19]they don’t realize , but if you could find out two or more things as someone FORD, you not only built a relationship, you own the relationship because to each and every one of us, our own Ford is our hot buttons. It’s what gets us excited to talk about, Are you married?
[00:12:33] Do you have kids? How old are the kids, occupation? What do you do? What’s your title? How long you’ve been doing it? What’s the company’s name, , recreation that could be, a lot of people’s hottest buttons, what do you do with your free time? what do you do on the weekends?
[00:12:44]an exercise or jog, or are you training for your first marathon? You coach little league soccer. whatever that may be, you do hot yoga and then the deep for dream, what’s on your bucket list. What’s your Encore career that you’re working towards. What’s your dream vacation.
[00:13:00] [00:13:00] And so all of our clients have worked FORD into their CRM systems. And again, you don’t have to be asking this a lot of times, Clients overshare, my first business is a chain of upscale salons and spas. So if you or your wife is calling into, , reschedule appointment, I don’t want, the person in the call center, , asking FORD questions, right.
[00:13:21] that’d be like a stalker checklist. but. a lot of times our clients tell us stuff without even us asking. So they might call in and say, I need to change my three o’clock on Wednesday because my daughter’s soccer team made it to championship. Bam. We catch that instead of just saying, how about, , Friday at four, we catch it, we put it in the notes and then when you come in , on Friday, we can say hundreds daughters.
[00:13:45]soccer team do, and you’re shocked. You don’t remember mentioning that. it’s just little things like that. And if you’re a B2B company, typically you’re never dealing with a client without having, a database open and seeing, what city state country they’re from, who they work [00:14:00] for their last order.
[00:14:01]and any FORD that you might have inputted about, their son, daughter, recent vacation, whatever that may look like.
[00:14:07]Aidan McCullen: [00:14:07] . And you talk about tracking FORD. So you have that idea of the Ford in the CRM, but also I love the idea that, for example, I know that you love baseball. I have a Ford monthly allowance. So I could perhaps buy you a shirt or a baseball copper, even tickets.
[00:14:24]John DiJulius: [00:14:24] exactly. there’s a lot of great companies that have the Ford, monthly allowance where , , it’s almost a burden. to their employees, a positive burden where you have to spend $25 a month, it might be for account executives, right? Lawyers, accounting, professional. And, so, , if I’m talking to you today and you’re my client, I’m listening.
[00:14:43] Right? I’m listening. I’m hoping you give me something that, , your daughter just graduated from college or, , you’re just celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary, something to give me. so I can allocate it towards my $25. It might be, five different, Starbucks cards to different people for whatever reason, but [00:15:00] you’re really focused and it’s getting you off the transactional thing, , you might be calling in to ask me about something on your account or whatever, and , the transaction part is, , I could give the answer.
[00:15:09] Yes, no, , you’ll see it on your next invoice, and that’s a transaction, but we want to make an interaction and none of this needs to take more time. Right. As I’m looking up your question about your account or credit or whatever that may be there’s downtime. So, we could talk about, Hey, do you have a, exciting plans ?
[00:15:29] How’s the weather in Dublin this time of year, as it is, , bad as it is in, Cleveland, Ohio, and just those little innocuous conversations always lead to valuable Ford information.
[00:15:42]Aidan McCullen: [00:15:42] is the what John , then you tell us the how with the five E’s.
[00:15:47]media_original-6b3b9c93f6aa4ee1aeabb08e8a414ede: [00:15:47] so my biggest thing is, your customer service customer experience, hospitality, whatever you want to call it, training needs to, not be platitudes. If you tell, , a hundred people, a hundred [00:16:00] employees, To go above and beyond or exceed customer’s expectations or, deliver genuine hospitality, that will be processed and interpreted a hundred different ways.
[00:16:10] So the best customer service companies remove the personal interpretation. For example, if you work for me, I have three companies. you have to deliver genuine hospitality face to face on the phone and via email. All right. Now we define with genuine hospitality, it looks like it’s the five E’s and these five E’s take less than five seconds to do the first three, take one second to do simultaneously.
[00:16:39] So it’s, , enthusiastic degree. I contact an ear to your smile. Right. That takes one second. When you see someone, , that you work with, I don’t care if it’s the, mailman or the ups man or the FedEx man or a client, right. Eye contact, enthusiastic greet ear to ear, smile, engage them, which means it’s about them.
[00:16:58] Not you. What’s [00:17:00] going on in their world and then educate them. make sure every time someone communicates with you, they should always leave there saying, man, no one is smarter at their job than that person.
[00:17:11]Aidan McCullen: [00:17:11] the book constantly reminded me of a quote by American activists, actor and author Maya Angelou, who said, I’ve learned that
[00:17:18] people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. And the reason I set that up is because we never gave a definition of what the relationship economy is. It’d be great if you’d share your definition of what it is.
[00:17:32]John DiJulius: [00:17:32] that quote is so true. Listen, we’re not loyal to an app. We’re not loyal to technology. we’re loyal to people and we give people second chances unless we don’t have, that emotional connection. So the relationship economy is where the primary currency is.
[00:17:47] The emotional connections made with customers, employees, and vendors that result in your organization becoming the brand. Customers cannot live without which ultimately makes price [00:18:00] irrelevant , and listen, you can make price irrelevant. Now what making price irrelevant doesn’t mean is that you can, raise your prices 50% or 30% and not lose existing or potential customers.
[00:18:14] What making price irrelevant does me is based on the experience your brand consistently delivers. Your customers have no idea what your competition charges. So listen to everyone listening me and you we’re all price sensitive, especially during these times. And but normal economic times, we’re, we’re still price sensitive and I’ve been the idiot.
[00:18:36] That’s driven three extra miles to save 50 cents on something. every one of us. And, and our clients and customers, have a couple of businesses, vendors, handyman, hairdresser, whoever it is to you that you’re so loyal to that. my mine is a, Hooper, his name’s Hooper.
[00:18:57] So if you lived in Cleveland, he’s my [00:19:00] handyman. I’ve used them for over 30 years and he doesn’t work for me. but I’ve used them for everything. And, his last name, super, we call them hoop. So if I heard you are thinking about, or you mentioned to me in a passing conversation and you were a neighbor or whatever, and said, Oh, I gotta get my basement refinished, or I got plumbing to get fixed or whatever the, the, the project is.
[00:19:19] I’d say you gotta use hoop. And, your first response typically is, well, what’s a hoop. I’m like, Oh my God, he’s my hand. And he’s the greatest guy in the world in it. I go on and on and on. I tell you all about them and throw up on you. And then the question I always get is, well, how much does hoop charge an hour?
[00:19:34] Because my handyman charges 115 or 125. And that’s where I’m embarrassed to say. I have no idea what charges. I could find out I can call my assistant. She can pull up, but I don’t care. He might be a hundred. He might be one 75 and I don’t care because he saves me money. , he’s peace of mind.
[00:19:52] He shows up when he says he does it. Right. , and a lot of times he’ll talk me out of, things I think I need, he’ll say, no, you don’t need it. That we could, [00:20:00] we could accomplish this this way. And he saved me $5,000. So, What side of the fence do we want to be on in our business?
[00:20:08] Do we want to be a line item that could be shopped to the lowest bidder? A line item from a P and L ?, Especially right now, we’re all going to be doing that. Right? We’re all going to say, all right, we need to find cheaper elsewhere, or are you that one or two things that, the CEO’s going to say, skip it, they’re too valuable to us.
[00:20:26] Aidan McCullen: [00:20:26] Yeah. And as you say, discounting is the tax you pay for being average, but there’s a stat. You mentioned John. And I know, , we’re facing a recession it’s upon us already. And this speaks volumes that organizations spend $500 billion a year on advertising and marketing yet they only spend 9 billion on customer service.
[00:20:46] So we’re more obsessed with winning new customers done delighting the customers we have already won. That is a key. Metric to understand and today’s relationship economy.
[00:20:57]John DiJulius: [00:20:57] to take it to a micro level, [00:21:00] basically what it’s saying is, if you put your, advertising marketing and customer service training budgets, and you combine them. 98% is advertising and marketing. And 2% is, an investment in customer experience. And that’s just, that’s ridiculous, right?
[00:21:18] I mean, all we do all you see is all these offers and incentives and first time and save and switch and Oh, but what are we doing for our existing clients? And the best world-class brands in the world advertise the least. They don’t advertise like, like their, their competitors, because they have a, customer base that are evangelists.
[00:21:40] They’re going out there and just, coming back and convincing others to do the same versus the opposite. Is, if you have shitty, crappy customer service and all you’re doing is advertising, more people will come in and experience the inconsistencies and the un-empathetic, [00:22:00] experiences.
[00:22:00] Now you’re creating brand, terrorists doing brand assassination and, so, so, so consider flip-flopping those expenses and you’ll see, the return on investment. Is 10 times higher on the customer service training and you’ll actually save money. Cause you won’t have to advertise so you can allocate that towards other things.
[00:22:22] Aidan McCullen: [00:22:22] one thing again, related to this recession, we’re going to experience is there’s a beautiful symbol in Chinese, which is the symbol for crisis on one brush, stroke means crisis or disaster. And the other one means opportunity. So in other words, there’s always an opportunity in the crisis.
[00:22:38] And one thing that dawned on me reading your book was. How the role of CMOs, chief marketing officers will no longer be in charge of the brand and the new order of things. It’s going to be more and more the CXO, not to frighten CMOs, many who listened to the show. This is the opportunity. This moment to evolve their skills and [00:23:00] become more experienced based chief marketing officer.
[00:23:04], and the CMOs are the perfect ones to slide over and, wear both hats. But marketing is reporting for the, 10th straight year, a full decade, the chief marketing officer, at least in North America. the title as on the decline 10 years in a row, corporate America, , is reducing the number of chief marketing officers, and the fastest growing C-suite position.
[00:23:31] In corporate America is the chief experience officer. So your new marketing is your experience, and it always has been, it’s just take, a lot of people a little late to get to the party, but nothing speaks more like the experience I’m having and the definition of your brand.
[00:23:50] Is what your customers perceive it, as you can say all day, what your brand is, but that’s not what your brand is. It’s what the public [00:24:00] sees it as ,what they’ve experienced. And if that’s a disconnect on what you think, well, they win cause we are in the customer perception business.
[00:24:09] Oftentimes, we may give out that somebody is, not great at customer service within our team and point the finger. And we forget that when you point the finger, there’s three pointing back at yourself and you list many reasons why an employee may lack customer empathy, but one really stuck out for me, which is it is not the employee’s responsibility to have a high service aptitude.
[00:24:32] It is the company’s job to teach that to them.
[00:24:36]John DiJulius: [00:24:36] that is the foundation. Of everything we teach. and we detour, 20 to 25% of people that call us up, to work with us with this because when we start explaining this, it’s a filter system and not everyone, agrees or thinks, but it’s a paradigm shift. how good any company is?
[00:24:58] Any department, any [00:25:00] team, any location is at customer service comes down to one thing. And one thing only their service aptitude, their average service aptitude, their medium service average from the CEO to the guy, working the warehouse to the newest employee. That’s going to start next week and go through your orientation.
[00:25:17] And now that’s not the paradigm shift. The paradigm shift is where service aptitude comes from. And most people think that it’s an eight it’s common sense, soft skills. And that’s the farthest thing from the truth. service actually comes from three primary places. The first one is, previous life experiences.
[00:25:40] most of us, most of our existing employees and most of our future generation employees, grew up not getting a Mercedes Benz. When we turned 16, not know staying at a five star resorts, not flying first class yet the moment we get our first jobs in [00:26:00] old jobs, after that, we were expected to give that type of an experience with those types of clients, guests, patients, tenants, customers, whatever we may call them.
[00:26:08] It’s not fair. my oldest son just graduated from college. if you hire him tomorrow and say, Johnny, I want you to treat our customers the way you’d like to be treated. That’d be a huge mistake. you got to change and train what, your standards non-negotiable standards are the second place service app to get shaped his previous work experience.
[00:26:28] I mean, unless you have a direct pipeline to former Walt Disney Ritz Carlton employees, which none of us do. that means your employees and future generation please have worked elsewhere. That wasn’t world-class. And what does that mean? That means that they were being trained by a typical boss to not trust customers.
[00:26:48] Hey, customers are out to take advantage of it’s your job to enforce policy policy, policy, policy. And now we hire them and they start treating their platinum VIP client. Like [00:27:00] they’re trying to get away with something. Not their fault. So, so no one listening can control those first two things. Previous life experiences and previous work experience.
[00:27:10] The only thing we can control is number three, what we do with them now, right? And the moment we hire them, and I love to ask this question to, business leaders, if you to hire my son tomorrow, to be in a customer facing position. How much training are you going to give him, before he’s allowed to start interacting with your customer?
[00:27:33] And some people say two days, some people say two weeks, some people will say two months, that’s actually not the answer I’m looking for. Right. But the answer I’m looking for is based on your 40 hours of training, 400 hours, 2000, whatever it is. Based on that. How much of those hours are technical operational processes versus soft skill building, a rapport [00:28:00] showing compassion and empathy, your non negotiable standards and making a brilliant comeback when you drop the ball.
[00:28:07] And in typical businesses, it’s 98% operational processes and less than 2%, Hey, Joe, again, back to we exceed client’s expectations. That’s our motto. Go do that. And that’s where it fails. So, the, the, the best companies, in, in, in customer service that dominate their industry and make price irrelevant are the ones that have an intense, soft skill, orientation, and continued training.
[00:28:34] Like they do operational skills.
[00:28:36]Aidan McCullen: [00:28:36] And you were saying there, about detouring businesses to see if they’re serious about this, but one of the ways you find out. Where they are now to set a line in the sand of where their starting point is is you ask them a simple question who is in charge of customer experience now?
[00:28:53] And oftentimes the answer is no one.
[00:28:56] John DiJulius: [00:28:56] Right. Who’s losing sleep at night over it. I [00:29:00] refer this to, a personal life, right? Everyone can say what they want about, what their, their values and priorities are. Right. We can all say, Oh, well my kids, my significant other, great. Now show me your calendar.
[00:29:17] Let me look at your last 90 days. And that will tell me what really is your values, and didn’t you say your daughter plays, in a soccer league this time? Yeah. Well, I’m looking at your calendar. Hasn’t she had any games? I’ve just been busy. I bet ya. Okay. Okay. All right. didn’t you say that, spending quality time with your significant other, but I don’t see any date nights.
[00:29:41] I don’t see any workouts. So, Again, your calendar , tells me what your priorities really are. not what you say they are. And in the same thing, CEO could say, Oh, customer service is a priority. Prove it to me. Who’s losing sleep at night and it can’t be the CEO.
[00:29:59] The CEO [00:30:00] is losing sleep at night over everything. And if you’re losing sleep at night over everything and that losing sleep and that nothing’s a priority, but we have to have people yet you have a CFO who’s driving you nuts about expenses and all that and fat and all that, which is great. And you have a chief operations officer, who is worried about productivity efficiency, who is losing sleep at night.
[00:30:23] Over the customer experience and the training and the execution and the net promoter score and the retention rates and all the resign rates.
[00:30:33] Aidan McCullen: [00:30:33] and the thing is you can’t just give that to a CMO on top of everything else. They do. Time needs to be carved out in order to do this. Right. And again, this is why companies hire you, but I wanted to come back to something else. But you mentioned your son, they’re just finishing college. And a thing dawned on me, which is, this Covid-19 pandemic and this kind of forced recession on top of that.
[00:30:55] And want to. Declare here. I’m not being a naysayer [00:31:00] or negative in this a gainsayer is calling out these things for the right reasons. And one of the reasons I call this out is the importance of these relationship skills, the importance of human skills as the world becomes more and more digital, we need to become more and more human.
[00:31:17] And there’s a tech tsunami not coming it’s already upon us. And it’s destroying jobs on. We don’t see it because it changes at an exponential rate, which is slow at the start and then quicker and quicker. And if you add in automation, AI, robotics, they’re all replacing jobs at the rate of knots and this highlights more than ever the value of human relationships.
[00:31:41] And I’d love a few emphasize this from your perspective, from what you’ve seen, both the, destruction, but also the creation from the destruction.
[00:31:50]John DiJulius: [00:31:50] A crisis is a horrible thing to waste and there is a reason for this and it’s to make a correction in the world we’re living in [00:32:00] today. And I think this is a great opportunity for us to get back to most important in our world and technology is not the enemy, but using it to eliminate the human interactions is, and we’ve done that personally and we’ve done that professionally and I just think it’s, fate forcing us to go back to the basics, look people eye where we are today. What we’ve accumulated is a direct reflection of the relationships we’ve built over our lifetime. And that’s the single biggest factor contributing to where we are today.
[00:32:37] And that will be true in 10 years. And that will be true on our death bed. And, so, I, I love, I, I might be the only person to say this. I don’t like, anyone, in, in financial despair, but, but, but I do, I’ve always enjoyed a recession. I think there’s a lot of benefits to a recession.
[00:32:55] A recession is like a business enema, it cleans out the crappy [00:33:00] businesses that shouldn’t have been. Even a Turkey can fly on a tornado, well, there’s been a lot of turkeys flying. In in, in the tornado, once that tornado stops, there’s a lot of turkeys that are dropping out of the sky and the companies that are positioned the best.
[00:33:15] Loyalty will never become more obvious right now from a customer and an employee standpoint, people get really choosy and how you show, what you’re made of during this time is so critically important to your customers. I can’t believe the knee jerk reaction people are having with, penalizing people, for trying to postpone or cancel their events, their conferences, their contracts and enforcing all this stuff. You kidding me and get into a pissing match. If it’s a Force Majeure act of God, it’s state of emergency. I mean, it’s going to come back we don’t know how long, but when it does, people are gonna remember how you treated them when they were in trouble.
[00:33:56] And if you want to, pull out the contract and say, no, you [00:34:00] owe us this or whatever. I mean, that’s just ridiculous. Same thing with employees. Now, we all have to do what we have to do to make sure that this company remains in business in the next 90 days. but how you’re communicating and caring and showing empathy and concern for your employees is critical and one of my most popular videos I’ve sent out in a long time it’s how to make Corona virus crisis, your bitch and, the incredible opportunities there are in our personal life.
[00:34:32] And people love this video cause I’m talking about, alright, we’re stuck at home in the States. We’re stuck at home. We’re all under house arrest, but man, I’m stuck at home with my kids and we’re playing the, DiJulius family Olympics. And we’re looking at old pictures and I’m showing them videos of what it was like when I grew up in, black and white videos.
[00:34:51] And they’re like saying, well, dad. Yeah. you said you walked up, a mountain, both ways to school, home and back barefoot in the snow. [00:35:00] Where’s that, but it’s just funny and we’re playing, we’re making a trivia family trivia game and, storytelling and, just stuff that we needed to get back to the band and there’s opportunities in business.
[00:35:11] Like I’m really excited. Like we just. Had a, a call with the D Julia’s group team. And at first I thought, we were going to have to cut hours and we absolutely may. But what got me more , energized was the fact that now with everything basically on hold, we all have this free time.
[00:35:30] And there has been things that I’m mad and embarrassed about that. We haven’t gotten to. For two, three years, that’s been on our to do list that our brand needs to evolve new revenue, streams, better education, product, all these things that now we have time to. And I actually got so excited that, we can actually all commit to knocking this stuff out that we never have time [00:36:00] to.
[00:36:00] And, I am 100% confident that, what we are going to about to, embark on and, and the innovations and stuff that we know we’ve needed to, will make us a better company coming out. And actually 2021, we will have a better year financially revenue, top line, bottom line. Then had we not been interrupted by this, this crisis?
[00:36:23]Aidan McCullen: [00:36:23] I love what you said, the amount of, but the business enema, because it’s the same thing. I, I always look to nature because nature has the answer for so many things and there’s this one beautiful metaphor I love, which is the idea of the butterfly. And the butterfly starts off with a Caterpillar on the counter of bread or eat soap.
[00:36:41] What it used to be. So when it goes into that cocoon state, it uses its former self as nutrition to feed the new version, which is the butterfly. And I believe this moment is exactly like going into a cocoon, and it’s a unique moment. We’re never going to have this chance again in our lifetimes.
[00:36:58] And like you said, the opportunity to [00:37:00] connect. The opportunity to build those relationships with our family, that we shamefully don’t have time for, that we need to make time for. I think it’s a reset moment, a huge opportunity in life. We’re coming back to something you said there, man. And you mentioned your video that you sent out, which I checked out and I loved.
[00:37:18] Business leaders in this moment need to step up. And you mentioned storytelling and the book, John, and you said companies need to create out that where employees can hear about the great customer success stories, especially when the company is a large one. So the bigger it is, the more they have to share these stories, but not just the positive stories, the negative stories, the hardships, et cetera, and also leaders need to show vulnerability.
[00:37:45]John DiJulius: [00:37:45] absolutely. I mean, the backstory is so key and there’s a great, great article that was in the Harvard business review called the soul of a startup. And it just talks about, it’s inevitable. We’re all as we [00:38:00] grow and we all want to grow. we’re going to lose. That’s soul that, when, when me and you started the company and maybe you were my first employer, the first five, and we, we still work till 2:00 AM trying to figure this out.
[00:38:13] Cause we had no idea what we were doing and we’re in over our head and we’re eating pizza, cold pizza on the floor as we were trying to figure it out, man, that’s the magic. Well, now you fast forward 10, 15, 30 years later. And you have, you may be hundreds and hundreds of employees. Who don’t get access to you or me, and they just think, man, this company, he, he probably was. Born with a silver spoon and everything came easy to him and they don’t hear, and they’re not in the trenches with me eating pizza until 2:00 AM. So they don’t have that emotional connection.
[00:38:45] They’re not ready to walk through a fire. So it’s important that that gets handed down. You were telling me before we started that, your first few podcasts or radio interviews was literally in a closet,
[00:38:57] Aidan McCullen: [00:38:57] Hey man stuff on stuff. [00:39:00] Show me.
[00:39:02] media_original-6b3b9c93f6aa4ee1aeabb08e8a414ede: [00:39:02] Right. I mean, but that’s the best because they look at you now and they think, Oh man, he’s a rockstar and he never struggled. No. Let me tell you what it was like. Right. that the hangers kept on falling on my head and, I had to, figure out how to, play that into, that was like a music in the background, whatever.
[00:39:18] And, and, every generation of a new employee’s orientation needs to hear those stories. so you can try to preserve the soul of the startup, where you came from, what it took to get here and where you’re going. those are such key things.
[00:39:31]Aidan McCullen: [00:39:31] There’s so much gold in the book. And I was telling you that you can tell how well-read you are and the relationships you have and the stories you tell. But there’s a lovely quote I’d love to finish on, on maybe for your final message to our listeners, which is we have to give a sense of urgency to what we were born to do, to make an impact and to leave a legacy. Our time is very short, shorter than any of us realise. . And the reason I picked that out is in [00:40:00] this momentary crisis because there will be more, everything tends towards chaos from order. So it’s just a cycle that we go through that will be more common then line. But during this period of lockdown, we have, like you said, we have this immense opportunity to look after those things that we have not had the time to do, and just put them to bed and be happy about them, that we’ve done them and not be on our death bed going if only I did that.
[00:40:26] This is the moment for that and I ‘d ove to set you up for your message to our audience
[00:40:32] media_original-6b3b9c93f6aa4ee1aeabb08e8a414ede: [00:40:32] to your point, we’re just tourists, right? on earth. And we don’t know when our passports going to be pulled and yeah, at least I I’ll be honest. Yeah. I found out the hard way. I lost my wife, about 10 years ago and that sucks, right.
[00:40:46] It absolutely sucks. But on the flip side I had less regret, because the way we lived our life, we, we didn’t take life. as for granted, as we could have. and we, we do, we always try to live by that. I mean, something that [00:41:00] pops up on my phone every morning at 6:00 AM intentionally is this quote.
[00:41:05] Cause it’s a first thing I want to come to my mind. cause it’s really important. What’s the first thing you think of when you get out of bed, are you thinking about snooze? I mean, thinking about, Oh, I don’t want to go to work today. I think that that being intentional about what you, your first thought of the day.
[00:41:18] So every morning at 6:00 AM, I got this quote that pops up that says act as if today’s the day you’ll be remembered for how you treat others. And that’s important to me because I don’t know when that last day will be. And I don’t, and you might say, Hey, John, we have a surprise for you.
[00:41:34]I love doing this with people. Hey, we have a surprise for you. you didn’t know this, but the last normal business day you had where you woke up and, got your kids ready and went to work and came in contact and drove to work and all the, ran to the grocery store or the drug store and, errands.
[00:41:51] We videotaped it. And we want to show it to everyone right now to show what type of person you are, when you cut and all of a sudden, people panic, [00:42:00] like, if it was true, like, Oh, let me see it first. Friday, wasn’t a good day for me. I let’s not show that. Can, can you give me a little advanced warning?
[00:42:07] Could it be this Friday? well, we don’t get advanced warning. Like today might be today. So let’s act as if today’s a day, we will be remembered for how we treat others and let’s do that intentionally. And the more often we do that, the less regret I think we’ll have professionally and personally.
[00:42:23] Aidan McCullen: [00:42:23] Beautiful, John, where can people find out more about you, your book, your work, et cetera.
[00:42:28] John DiJulius: [00:42:28] I’m at DThe DiJulius group.com the DiJulius group.com or they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:42:36]Aidan McCullen: [00:42:36] author of the relationship economy, building , stronger customer connections in the digital age. John DiJulius.,thank you for joining us.
[00:42:45] John DiJulius: [00:42:45] Thank you for having me. It was a real honor.