Last week I had the honor to chair the North American Conference on Customer Management’s Customer First conference in Anaheim, CA at Disneyland. What a treat. (You can read more about it in this week’s tip) One of the several speakers I had the honor to introduce was Robert Stephens, the founder of the Geek Squad. http://customers1st.blogspot.com/search?q=robert+stephens http://www.geeksquad.com/ I was so happy to have a chance to spend a few quiet moments with Stephen in the ballroom before the sessions began. I’ve been talking about Robert for years in my speeches and retelling a story I heard a famous speaker tell years ago. I wanted to hear Robert tell the story and add a few details. I was shocked (not to mention embarrassed) to find out that I have been ‘lying’ about the origins of the Geek Squad for years. Robert was gracious about it and shared a few moments with me before it was time to introduce him. I was thrilled to talk to him personally, so I didn’t read the printed introduction that was given to me in my chairperson pack. Up I go to the stage with my printed introduction in hand. He’s an impressive guy and so I decided to read some of his interesting credentials before adding in my personal thoughts. Right there on the paper it said, ‘In 2002, The Geek Squad acquired Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores.’ I saw it on the page, but before opening my mouth, my mind decided this could not be so and so I said, ‘Best Buy acquired the Geek Squad’ instead, figuring it must be wrong. Nope, it was right and I was wrong. Later in the day, after I had made a personal apology to Robert, I apologized to the entire audience, explaining what I thought happened. Because it seemed so impossible to me that a midsize service company could possibly buy a ‘big box’ store, I assumed that what I saw on the page was incorrect. Talk about the old adage – when we assume it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’. I’m still embarrased. Because I wondered if this was happening to others as well as me, I asked the audience how many of them thought that Best Buy had bought the Geek Squad rather than the other way around – half the audience did. It’s a great example of seeing what we want to see. When our belief system is strong it simply won’t let in information to the contrary. I am truly humbled by the experience. Robert taught us that what we need to create today is an ‘Authentic Experience’ and I’ll tell you – my embarrassment was an authentic as it gets. Yikes. Robert, I learned so many valuable lessons from you last week – the most important of which were those I learned about myself.If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi was a keynote speaker and conference chair at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!
Looking to learn more about what it takes to give great customer service? Look no further than Disney! I am here at the NACCM Customers 1st Conference being held at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, and today the event kicked-off in style. I chose the ‘Disney’s Service Challenge’ pre-conference workshop, led by Bruce Kimbrell of The Disney Institute. This workshop focused on teamwork and taking care of employees (a critical part of taking care of customers is to take care of employees!). Bruce is also the keynote speaker tomorrow at the Pre-Conference Summit talking about ‘Loyalty Disney Style’. Today, Bruce invited us to spend several hours discovering the service opportunities that Disney gives to their guests in ‘Pluto’s Pursuit’. I took the challenge, along with about 30 other attendees. Bruce started us off with a great ice-breaker activity, with the promise of a PPR (positive plastic reinforcer – in this case, a small plastic statuette of Pluto). He had seven of us get into a circle and toss a ball back and forth in a set pattern. He then kept adding balls to the mix until we finally fell apart, balls flying all over the room! It was a great way to start talking about teamwork as well as multitasking (something we obviously didn’t do well). We then talked about what the necessary ingredients are for a team; they included sharing a common goal, cooperation, and interdependence. (Customers Rock! note: great customer service organizations have highly efficient teams that operate on trust and work well together.) He also introduced the notion of different personal goals for different types of people one might find on a team, contrasting those who are motivated by achievement (goals – wanting to get to a ‘destination’ with the team) vs. those who are motivated by affiliation (friends and enjoying the journey to the goal). More on this later. We were then split up into teams and given a common goal to achieve in a 90-minute time period, a sort of ‘scavenger hunt’. We had to go into Disneyland Park and find answers to a long list of questions. Some of the questions had to do with cast member (Disney employee) behaviors; other questions were about signs it the park or park attractions. We also had 2 challenges we could attempt as a team (of the puzzle variety). Into the Park Off we went on our hunt, where we relied on each other to look for the details in everything from the cast members and their on-stage behaviors (no sitting or smoking while on-stage!), their uniforms (name badge, please, and be well groomed), as well as trivia questions (do you know how much the piece of petrified wood in Frontierland weighs?). We covered the entire theme park, from Fantasyland to Adventureland to New Orleans Square to Frontierland – and beyond! Interesting observation – we were so busy looking for our scavenger hunt items, we didn’t get to stop and enjoy the park. A few notes. All of the attendees at this conference are customer-focused, so when some of my teammates saw a woman at the park trying to navigate a curb with her stroller, four of them went over and helped her! That’s customer service. Also, Bruce is a veteran Disney guy; he has worked for them for nearly 30 years. As we were walking back to the conference from the theme park, he stopped and picked up every piece of trash he saw on the ground, throwing it away when he got the next trash can. He didn’t make a big deal of it; it just came naturally. I could see real pride in working at Disney. Team Success Factors When we returned, Bruce discussed more about the differences between the Destination teams and the Journey teams. We discovered that 3 of the 4 teams were ‘Destination’ teams and were all vying for the fabulous prizes offered. The fourth team was a ‘Journey’ team – they took their time, ate some food, did some shopping, and enjoyed their activity. One of the key areas we went over was employee rewards and recognitions. Bruce told a story about a long-time employee who had 32 years of perfect attendance. They decided to throw a big party for him to celebrate. He didn’t show up! Turns out he wasn’t comfortable with that kind of attention being showered on him, so he stayed home. The team had forgotten to find out what kind of recognition he might like; they just assumed he would want a party. Taking Care of Employees At Disney, they foster a culture of reward and recognition because that fosters other good things (like employee loyalty, which leads to great customer service). We need a little bit of that ‘destination’ mentality to get things done, but we need to balance it with the ‘journey’ mentality to make the job more fun! The Conference Nuggets Are Just Starting! I am blogging this conference, both on my blog Customers Rock! as well as on the Customers 1st Conference blog. During the sessions, I am not able to blog but will be updating you via Twitter; I am @bcarroll7, and the conference tag is #naccm. I am also posting any photos I take on the NACCM conference flickr group.
Monday morning, like many mornings, I woke up in a hotel. A brand spanking new Comfort Inn Suites in Tampa , Florida. Like many mornings the phone rang at 6:30 and stirred me out of a deep sleep. ‘Beeep -beeep – beeep -beeep,’ was the first sound I heard. Dumb-dumb-dumb. Here was the hotel’s opportunity to make a ‘first impression’ on me this morning and they did a poor job. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. As I was getting ready for the day I recalled the full spectrum of wakeup call experiences I’ve had in all the years I’ve been waking up in hotels. At one end of the extreme is the call I received today – at the other end the LIVE bright and cheery voice of a hotel employee actually talking to me and telling me what the weather was and how happy they were I was in THEIR hotel. In between is the automated call that gives the date, the weather and any other topics of interest (perhaps a breakfast special in the coffee shop, or free coffee service in the lobby.) As I was reviewing all these messages in my head, I realized that there is a full spectrum of touching going on in any activity. Pretend there is a scale. At one end of the scale is Hospitality with a big ‘H’ ‘ warm, friendly, inviting. At the other end of the scale rudeness, abruptness and maybe even contempt (thinly veiled of course.) Now take a look at all the touchpoints in your organization and see where you rate on that scale. Find any wake up calls? Wake up because in THIS marketplace ‘ if you snooze, you lose.
If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, and comment on this post, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!
Live-blogging is becoming more and more popular at events because of the constant updates bloggers are able to provide the general public. It’s a great way for attendees to recap on sessions and also a great way for those who could not make it to learn a couple of key points from presentations. For this year’s event, Becky Carroll from Customers Rock! will be live-blogging at the NACCM event, bringing us up-to-date information on speakers, presentations, and other gatherings from the event as they occur.
We look forward to reading Becky’s posts in November, and take advantage of the discount being offered to Customers 1st readers. Register for the event and save 15% off the standard pricing. We’ll see you in Disneyland!
With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Robert Stephens. Robert Stephens is the Founder and Chief Inspector of The Geek Squad. Stephens started this business when he was a ‘starving college student’ at the University of Minnesota. While he was going around fixing things for people with his mountain bike and cell phone, he found when he went to help people, mainly with computers, service was lacking. So formed The Geek Squad, which is now a part of Best Buy. With respect to his views on Customer Service, Robert Stephens was quoted in this interview stating: ‘So my emphasis in service, which the biggest expense in pretty much any service business I can think of is human capital/labor. In service, the people are the brand. They are the factories that manufacturer it. I focus really on attracting and maintaining talent as a means of accomplishing that goal.’ To learn more about Robert Stephens read his book, The Geek Squad Guide to Solving Any Computer Glitch, and check out this interview from Service Untitled which delves more into specifics of his philosophy. Also, for more on Stephens watch the YouTube clip provided below:
We invite you to come see Robert Stephens at NACCM as he presents on Wednesday, November 19th, ‘Marketing is a tax you pay for being unremarkable’.
With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Stephen Brown. Stephen Brown is currently the Edward M. Carson Chair in Services Marketing Professor and Executive Director at the Center for Services Leadership. Stephen Brown has been an integral part of the Center for Services Leadership. Through his leadership and vision, with the help of Edward M. Carson, the Center was created in 1986. This enormous accomplishment has earned the praise of several institutions including Intangibles magazine which refers to it as a ‘Mecca’. The Center has distinguished members such as Cisco, IBM, and McKinsey & Company. In addition, Stephen Brown has been given several honors, including being recognized American Marketing Association’s for prestigious Career Contributions to Services Marketing. Another accolade has received include being given an honorary doctorate from the Swedish School of Economics. Other accomplishments include being co-author and editor for over 20 books, and 150 articles. We invite you to come see Stephen Brown at NACCM as he presents on Wednesday, November 19th, ‘The science of service: the proof is in the numbers’.
With the The Market Research Event quickly approaching, we would like to begin to introduce you to the keynote speakers we will have this year at our event. This year, The Market Research Event will take place from October 13 – 16, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. This week, we would like to introduce you to Dan Ariely. Ariely is the author of New York Times best seller Predictably Irrational and a professor of behavioral economics at MIT. He’s also the director of the e-Rationality Group at the MIT Medial Lab. Ariely has a MA and PHD in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has a PHD in business from Duke University. Dan has spent his career focusing on discovering and measuring how people make decisions, specifically irrationality, rationality decision-making, behavioral economics, and consumer welfare. He also maintains the website Predictably/Irrational. Check out his blog there. Listen to the podcast he recorded at the London School of Economics and Management called Behavioural Economics: Common Mistakes in Daily Decisions here. Read the transcript of the interview he did with ABC Radio National here. Listen to his interview on the Brad Books Show here. Read the article at CIO Magazine about CIOs and their rationality for making bad decisions. We invite you to come see Dan Ariely at The Market Research Event as she presents his keynote speech on Thursday, October 16th, Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions.
With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Bill Price. Bill Price is the founder of Driva Solutions, LLC, and the author of The Best Service is No Service. Prior to Driva Solutions Bill Price was the Vice President of Amazon.com’s Global Customer Service. Price helped them to reduce contacts-per-order’? by over 70% which helped win Amazon.com the second highest-ever customer satisfaction rating for a company based in the United States. Some of his other accomplishments include: the publication of more than 20 articles and whitepapers, videotapes of past presentations from 2002 and 2004 are still broadcast on television as relevant, in 1997 he was awarded ‘Call Center Pioneer’ from Call Center Magazine, and in 2004 was asked to be one of ten ‘CRM Gurus’. As previously mentioned Bill Price is the author of The Best Service is No Service: How to Liberate Your Customers from Customer Service, Keep Them Happy, and Control Costs. Check out the Driva Solutions blog titled ‘Best Services’ here. Also, we’re excited to have Bill Price present a web seminar on October 15 called Outsourcing and offshoring, insourcing and onshoring ‘ so many choices, so little frank information. Stay tuned to the NACCM Customers 1st blog for more information We invite you to come see Bill Price at NACCM as he presents on Monday, November 17th, When the Best Service is No Service.
With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Frank Capek. Frank Capek is the Senior Vice President nGenera’s, nGen Customer Business division. To fulfil his role at nGenera, Capek pulls insight from his 25 plus years of experience working with over 50 major corporations in a variety of industries. Some of the assets that he provides, as listed on his blog, are helping organizations: understand how their customers think, feel, and act; designing products, services, processes, and technology that enable more effective customer experiences; and aligning leadership, employee experiences, and organizational behaviour to deliver. To hear more of Frank Capek’s thoughts check out his blog here. We invite you to come see Frank Capek at NACCM November 16-19, 2008 in Anaheim California at the Disneyland Hotel. Be sure to look for another speaker’s profile next week.
With the The Market Research Event quickly approaching, we’re taking time to get to know some of the people who are involved in the The Market Research Event. Today, I’d like to share with you the podcast recently conducted with TMRE’s conference producer, Krista Vazquez. She talks about what she’s done to make this year great and what she’s looking forward to this year. Listen to the podcast here, and check back soon to hear more from our speakers at this year’s The Market Research Event! The Market Research Event will be in Anaheim, California, at the Disneyland Hotel from October 13th through 16th.