Ash Roy: 00:00
Welcome everyone. Today’s guest is Justin Herald and he’s passionate about business growth and customer service and he’s accumulated a lot of knowledge in these areas over the years. His expertise is in helping businesses to connect and engage with their customers and to do so in a more meaningful and productive way. I recently saw him speak and I found his no BS approach to being very refreshing and very entertaining. He’s also created customer culture which focuses on helping businesses deliver amazing experiences to their customers. He’s the author of eight international bestselling books and is regarded as one of Australia’s best and most sought after speakers. He speaks in front of about a hundred thousand people each year. I’m delighted to welcome Justin Herald to the Productive Insights podcast. Welcome Justin.
Thank you, man. Thank you.
Ash Roy: 00:52
Great to have you on the show, Justin. So let’s kick off straight away and start talking about customer culture. This is something you teach. So could you share with our listeners what customer culture means and how it can transform a business and what results or business owner can expect to see if they implement this correctly in their business?
Yeah, look, in the olden days, customer service was something that we all had to do. Managers, owners of businesses made sure that we were right across, uh, looking after our customers, trying to send all that sort of thing. As business has evolved, it’s become a fairly lazy way of doing business and a lot of business owners actually don’t formally train their staff in anything. They look at their resume, though, see that on their resume that someone says, I’m on unreal with customer service and I go, you’re the person for the job. Funny thing is you’re not really going to put on your resume, I really suck at customer service. So I don’t understand that whole principle. There was a statistic that I read the Bureau of Statistics website. I was on there the other day and they’ve released some data and that one of those bits of data was in the last three years in Australian business, only 22% of adult staff.
Have had any formal training, which means it’s 78% of out there that are serving the customer and that I was being nice. But what we’ve allowed our staff to do it essentially what business owners have allowed the staff to do is do it their own way and they might be doing a great job. It’s not that they’re not doing a great job. The problem, however, if there’s no formal training is there’s no baseline. There’s no way that a business in general in all staff operate in the exact same way. My wife owns a day spa and medi spa and I’m very proud of her. She’s for the third year in a row voted the most, the best Day Spa Medi Spa in Australia. So she does quite well. But what it’s called, the temple skin carries her company. She has a thing and it’s called the temple white.
So if you go in there and you get by Renee for the first time and here’s my wife, you’ll get amazing service, you’ll get amazing treatments if you go in and then I have a different staff member. The next time you will have amazing treatment and amazing service. It’s all done the exact same way and that’s deliberate and that’s the one thing that a lot of people in business and not doing is having a deliberate approach, especially when it comes to training their staff. And I get it. I just really do not understand that at all. So customer culture is actually putting a culture back inside your business, which most business is actually done, have any culture, but have a, put a culture in your business ideas all centered around the customer because if you don’t look after them, someone else will. So it’s not that difficult to train your staff in, in looking after customers.
Ash Roy: 03:45
Yeah. I studied culture as a significant part of my MBA. And I remember that culture is one of the hardest things to change in an organization, but it’s also one of the most important things because it’s, it’s intangible. Yeah. But it really defines the organization cause you can only make rules up to a certain point. Ultimately everybody has to behave with a certain sense of leadership within the organization. And your culture dictates that. What you were talking about earlier about providing a consistent experience is what we used to call standardization. And Mcdonald’s does it very well. And if you think about any successful brand, and I’m not suggesting Mcdonald’s is the most amazing experience you’ll ever get, but what you will get if you go to any Mcdonald’s store around Australia and probably in the United States as well, I guess is a consistent experience. You know, the burgers will taste the same. Everything is very, very standardized.
Yeah. I have my own opinion. Mcdonald’s used to be unreal as far as I’m concerned. In the olden days, if anyone came to any employee, instead I work at Mcdonald’s or working with McDonald, you’d hire him in a heartbeat because you know how well they’ve been trained. My problem at the moment though is, it’s, yes, you’ve got standardization across the processes I guess within, so say someone like Mcdonald’s or whatever. Yeah, the customer experience however has dropped. You don’t get any experience there now and then. I think this is a dumb way and I’m not even a shot at Mcdonald’s, but I’m having a shot at Mcdonald’s. It’s a dumb way that they are now sort of forcing us to get on a machine to push a button to place our water instead of talking to the person on the other side of the counter. But I, I have a personal belief on why that is now is because there’s a lot of companies are now going to this online compliance model of training where they say to their staff, here’s this caused tick a box. We then now you’ve done it so you’re good to go face to face training and owners of businesses and managers of businesses getting back involved with this staff face to face is the way you’re going to create a better culture as opposed to, or I like the compliance model, never have, I would rather it competent models. So I know all my staff are competent at doing something, not just done the compliance aspect.
Ash Roy: 06:04
Right. That goes back to the culture point, right? Where compliance implies rules and regulations, which we will have to follow. A competence implies having a leadership approach and training everybody to think with a customer in mind. Now let’s come back to the Mcdonald’s thing. So you are saying that dealing with machines is something that doesn’t deliver a good customer experience. Is that what you mean?
Absolutely. And if we look at the people that are spending the money though, and these days a lot of businesses set themselves up for the millennials. Well, no, no disrespect on, and I’ve got five kids, so I’ve got a mall in the house. Having a conversation and a meaningful one, it’s not one of those things that is a natural thing for a lot of them. So to set up our whole systems around these, that their generation seems pretty silly, where the people who have got the money are the older generation. And so you’re wise, you’re actually Xyz and you whatever else we’ve got going on, baby boomers, that’s who’s got the money. So they’re the ones that have had great service in the past. If you have a look of most of the whinges that people have about any business online, on social media, it’s about the experience that they’ve had.
It’s not about the price. And See, the thing is now the one thing that as you, me, everyone’s got more than ever before. It’s choice. So I now have a choice to go somewhere else. Now, if I’m not going to get an experience when I shop, I might as well go online and get no experience when I shop and I, but the reality is I’m going to have to wait now for my purchase to arrive where I’m an impulse buyer. So I want my purchase now, but I’m not getting any experience with it. So I just sit there and go, you know, I’ll use a different example. As a business owner, I give great service every single day. So do my staff, great. So at the end of the week, my service tank is deplenishes a fair amount. So when I go out and spend my money, that’s the tondo my tent should be filled up by getting great service. Again, I’m finding I’m running on empty a lot at the moment because I’m not getting any fantastic experience back and it’s not that difficult to do.
Ash Roy: 08:11
Right. Okay. So I take your point that the baby boomers need more of a personalized service, but what do you think we should be doing to offer good customer service to the millennials and the next generation? And actually that brings me to the next question, which is what are the key trends you’re seeing in terms of customer culture and cut the customer experience? What is desired by people out there? And are there any changes in these trends given deluge of online marketing based and Internet based services?
Yeah, look, the biggest trend at the moment is no one was doing anything. They’re not training their staff, they’ve sort of thrown their hands up in the air and, and I love when people go, you know, what’s the point? Because two things, I’ll say whatever if they leave or whatever if they stay and the other one is though I was going online anyway. Well you, we don’t then give up, which means we’ve got to do something in order to keep them in our stores and keeping with our business. We’ve got to stop people from having the ability and the choice to look somewhere else. See for peace. And this is why I created a customer culture. Your staff have to be the reason for choice not change. And at the moment, most of our staff are most staff that, especially in retail, other reason for change.
There’s a reason people go, yeah, I’m Outta here. And if you look at the, and I won’t mention them by name, but two, and it’s pretty easy to work out who these are two of the major retailers here in Australia. If you go into this store, you’re bugging the phone, anyone in the first place that can help you and let them when you do, because of the stupid why they’ve now set up their store. You go up to one counter because you can’t find anyone in the other counter and they’ll say, I’m sorry I can’t help you. Or at workday. So you’ve got all these people now that can’t help and then then you hear this, see you guys get on the, on the radio or on TV going, oh there’s a problem with the stores cause everyone’s going online or it’s the economy. It’s not the economy.
People have just given up and I can get treated like crap anyway. So why would I go deliberately to a store, that I know I’m going to get treated like rapping. So I think what’s happened now the consumer is going, you know what? I actually do want to bet a experience and say price matter. When you get a great experience cause you’re emotionally attached to the process, there’s no process at the moment. And I think what we’ve got to do is just do the deliberate thing inside. You know what, I’m going to train my stuff. It doesn’t take long. It doesn’t cost much. It’s just about a matter of being deliberate to say here’s what we want to happen. See? Cultures, easy to create as far as I’m concerned. Because as the business owner, it’s my business, my rules. So I sit the culture.
So if my staff don’t want to follow that culture well, bye bye, you can’t, there’s no point working here. Right? So that’s where when anyone comes into her, has any touch point in any of my businesses, they know that it’s deliberate and then now it’s real. They know there’s a culture behind it. It’s not one dimensional. But that, yes, it’s deliberate thing. But that’s a thing that’s just natural because for me to be in business 24, for 25 years now, I had to do things that now most people aren’t. And that is, you know, look after my customer. I’d be consistent with our treatment and training and all that sort of stuff. So if people just did that, that actually turned their business around pretty quickly.
Ash Roy: 11:30
Okay. So how do we do this in an online environment though? What are your recommendations on developing a good customer experience when someone is making purchases? Mainly online.
I think a lot of it’s got to do with communication. I had a client this morning, did this exact thing happened and there was, I experienced it when I became a pseudo customer and just to test it out. So I, on the weekend I went onto their website, placed a in inquiry on their website and it was, it wasn’t until this morning I got a phone call back. So I was talking to the CEO of the company this morning. I said, look, it’s pretty easy. He’s a couple of things that I would be doing. Number one, if no one’s going to make on your website on a weekend, which as business earnings, you’re allowed to have some time off. I’m all for that. But if on the weekend someone’s gonna Email have an auto responder, they go straight back to them, say, thank you so much for your email. We’ll get back to you on Monday, Tuesday or whatever.
So then they acknowledges, and this is the problem with a lot of online stuff, we’re not acknowledging the fact that someone’s even been there, seen a store. I could say hello. And it’s not about chatbots either. It’s not about setting up this automated fake conversation that, that I see a lot that that’s not engagement. And then the other thing I suggested was if I do send an email, maybe sit with the email saying, you’ve got my email, send me a copy of what my required, my inquiry was. So at least I’ve got a copy on it where I’m talking about. And if you said to me, we’ve lost it, well we can’t find you, your inquiry. I can go, no worries. I’ll send it back. Yeah, it’s at that communication that we need to have, whether it’s online, offline, whatever. Oh, I do believe that most people run their online business totally different to their offline business. We’ve never done that. We have an offline approach to everything that we do. So that means customer engagement, customer service, customer appreciation, all has to happen the exact same way as if we were dealing with the customer face to face or over the phone.
Ash Roy: 13:27
Okay, so point taken that if you’re going to have a chat bot or an autoresponder sequence in order to respond to email saying thank you for your email, we received it. Maybe in that email you acknowledge the fact that it’s an automated email, so you’re not trying to make out that. Yeah, so this is really somebody else and it just feels a bit more genuine because most people know that it’s an, it’s an automated email, but it still shows that you’ve made the effort to put that in place and you’re then saying you’re making a commitment to them saying that I will get back to by so and so time, but then here’s the key. You must follow through on the commitment that you make to them to build the trust. Your actions must be congruent with your words. One corresponding pet hate I have is I sometimes go to a cafe and there’s a queue of people at the cafe or maybe there’s two or three people ahead of me and the person that’s serving deliberately doesn’t make eye contact with the person in the queue.
Ash Roy: 14:26
And over and above that they will take ages to serve the person that they’re serving, which can be quite frustrating. I think a better approach in that situation might be saying, oh, I’ll be with you in a moment. Sir or Ma’am, I just finished sending this customer first and then show some sense of urgency that you’re trying to serve the customer. Doesn’t mean you have to be rude to the customer that’s in front of you, but you just demonstrate that you do care about the person waiting in line because you just creating them quite badly if you’re not even saying, I see you, I hear you. I know you’re waiting. Just that act can be such an important and valuable expression in terms of customer service.
But what you’re talking about though is exactly what I’m saying it needs to be trained. We, we, or not we, business owners think that their staff should know this. Well, I don’t know anything. It’s like saying that, you know, when you, you turn 16 you should just know how to drive a car. Like we’ve got to train people to do new skillset, but we’ll, we’ll say than that. We’ve got to train them to do the skill set that we want them to do. And that’s probably where there’s a bit of a mix. I’ve got this expectation from my staff and my business and my staff. I had this expectation, there’s a big thing missing and the main ingredient that is missing from most businesses, they’re not seeing or trying to figure out what is my level of expectation as the customer? Where am I sitting with how I’d like to be treated?
And it’s not that I’m unrealistic, it’s just the, you know, spending good money. So I gave me something more than just the product or service that I can go by and rave about. So I did my, the way I’ve always grown my business and I’ve come up with a theory now. I’ve always got many theories, but there’s, there’s different business models. As we all know, there’s B to B and then C, we’ve always had a, an it’s only because it wasn’t deliberate at the start because I had no money when I first started my first business. I had to create demand and I had to create a following. So I wanted to create a customer to business model, which is a very, a great way to grow your business because you don’t have to spend any money on it. So what, what I’ve created is a thing called F to f, which most people think face to face, but it’s not.
It’s fans to followers. [inaudible] I create fans in my business and every business will probably have them. And if you died, there’s your problem. But every business probably has fans they have followers. So the way that we talk about it, and especially my training, it’s about going after your customer’s customer. So that way when we’re serving a customer or any of my staff are serving a customer, they then need to realize and know that that person knows other people. So if we give them great experience, they’ll go away and tell people, I don’t have to go and spend a crap load of money on stupid marketing to tell people how unreal we are. Word of mouth is going that way now. It’s word of mouse is going now as well and that’s the why that the businesses have always grown. And the issue though is that simplicity is not actually being taught. And I will guarantee you there’d be probably 60 to 80% of people that will end up watching this and I, and if you ask them the question, when was the last time you had a staff meeting with training, I guarantee you would be less than 12 months ago. Oh sorry, more than 12 months ago that they’ve done that and said these little things can be done because then you can manage the expectations of the, of where you want your business to go.
Ash Roy: 17:46
Well, you know there’s some fantastic things you touched on in episode 166 I talked to a guy called Robert Garish and he talked about the five concentric circles and he touched on exactly this issue, which is how to convert people who are acquaintances, move them closer and closer to you and eventually make them raving fans. If you’re listening to this episode or watching on Youtube, I highly recommend you check that out. You can access that productiveinsights.com/166. Another thing Justin you talked about was how to make price relatively irrelevant and that is by providing a spectacular customer experience. And I spoke to Sonya Keenan from Omni Channel Media Group just in the last couple of episodes, one 68 and one 69 about this. The idea that price is just one of the many factors people think about when it comes to working with a certain person and customer service is a much bigger factor than most of us realize.
Ash Roy: 18:44
We tend to think price is the most obvious one because it’s quantifiable. But if you can provide really good quality customer service, you can charge higher prices and people will pay for that because you’re offering something that is, that fits in with their world and that is a little bit of a smoother and seamless experience. It’s a frictionless experience and people are willing to pay a premium price for that. So if you’re thinking of improving your business profitability, then I really think you should implement what Justin’s talking about, which is develop a really strong customer culture because developing that customer culture can in the longterm allow you to command higher prices. People will come and seek you out, they will want to work with you and they will pay top dollar to work with you. Now you’re not doing it for the,
Sorry. It’s value. It’s value. Yeah. And that’s part in it. If you look at it, the whole experience of buying, so whether it’s from service or product base, it’s irrelevant. There’s like a recipe. There’s a lot of different things that go into that. It’s not just one, I’m a car nut. I love cars or just people get, it’s a waste of money, well, a lot of wasting my money. But I love cars but all, I’ve not bought a certain car or many cars purely based upon the experience that I’ve been given right at the start. So the car’s the car that I’ll go to another place, it’s the exact same car, but it’s the other stuff that goes with it that all go, you know what? I actually don’t want to give these people my money cause they don’t actually care about me. And that’s what we’ve got to get. If business owners just get this, but I will change their business overnight. And your client, you won’t have to market. You went up to spend as much money trying to attract clients because they’ll keep on coming back. This is simple and people just don’t get it.
Ash Roy: 20:35
It’s encapsulated in that one word. Care. You have to care. And if you care, people will sense that. Now here’s a good one. Can
I, can I just say to this point, these may upset some people, but my training in the way we try and people is we say to them, they’re staff and then as an owner need to turn up to work every single day with guests. Yeah, you’ve got to have guests, which essentially is, well not essentially, it is. You need to give, I know that you actually care and you’ll give me as a customer, I am coming back then anyone listening to this or watching this at any point in time could automatically recall the last time I went somewhere and they just did not care. And if you can just do that, you then stand out from your competition in a heartbeat.
Ash Roy: 21:26
Absolutely. Now I’d like to share some really great ideas around how to develop this caring and this empathy for your customer. If you have a listen to episode 117 productiveinsight.com/117 I talk about empathy maps and creating an empathy map for your customer is a great way to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. So you ask yourself, what does my customer thinking, hearing, feeling, doing, and you can create an empathy map for before they consume your service or product, while they consuming your service and product and how they feel after they’ve consumed your service or product. The idea is to be able to step through the experience as if you were the customer and truly empathize because if you can truly empathize with your customer, you almost certainly can provide them with a better customer experience than you are at the moment. And you, at the start of this conversation, Justin said that you were pretending to be a customer for one of your clients to step through that exact process and that’s essentially an empathy mapping in action really.
Well. We’ve got real people serving real people, but it seems as that missing part where, you know, I’m harping on it, it comes down to training, like they’ve got to be trained that this is, this is okay to care. It is okay to get to know the customer. My first, one of my first jobs when I left school was in a men’s wear store. I’m part time. I was sort of still doing it whilst at school, but what the owner of that business made us do, it wasn’t a choice back in those days if you didn’t do what the owner said you, you didn’t have a job. But now, we seem to worry about what people think in in our staff and I’d just, I just don’t play that game. But what we had to do is we had to remember and learn every single customer’s name.
Yeah. Then we had to learn and remember what they bought the last time they came in. Then I had to learn what size they bought the last time they came in. So when Mr. Jones comes in we’d say, Oh, Mr. Jones had been a while. How does that tee shirt going? It looks like you know after a medium or do you want to use, it looks like you lost a bit of weight. Do you want to go down to a different source, that’s what we had to do. Yes. Now I could go back into the same shop time after time after time and they’ll say to me, Oh, do have you shopped here before? And it’s just like I’m here all the time. So that’s where little things like that is enough for your customers. If you started to do this stuff overnight, your customers would actually do a double take and go, this is awesome. It’s not rocket science. We’re not talking about anything that’s going to be hard to do.
Ash Roy: 24:00
So is this something you’d train your staff to do now?
Yeah, absolutely. That’s something that are, I mean I’ve got a touch point. I have a, all of my customers, it’s one thing that I’ve maintained for 25 years that I’m extremely contactable as well. So I, I find it funny when there’s businesses now, even in startups, I tried to remove themselves away from the, the customer will put in so many gatekeepers in, in front of the, the process. For me it’s just, Oh, I want to need to be accessible because on here for 25, after 25 years, purely based upon the fact that customers are bought for me. So why would I go on separate myself from the same people that go up into this position? It doesn’t make any sense and it actually gets the prices sal, experienced over and into pretty quickly. So once again, not rocket science.
Ash Roy: 24:49
Okay. So I’m just going to sum this up with some action steps and then you can suggest some others if I’ve missed any. The biggest takeaways for me from this conversation, a step one, train your staff step to care about your customers and make sure you train your staff to care about your customers. And you can do that by having some specific things you ask them to do, which are measurable and quantifiable. For example, get them to remember the key customers names. If not all the customers names, depending on the size of your business, make sure that get a feel for the customer. They are able to instantly tell you a little bit about the customer when the customer walks in the door rather than just ask the customer, have you been here before when they’ve been a regular shopper, demonstrate to the customer that you value their business and that you see them as an individual human being.
Ash Roy: 25:41
So humanize your communication. Now if you’re online, this might be a bit harder, but you can still humanize your content. You might send an autoresponder email or a bot saying, Hey, I got your message and I’ll get back to you on Monday, but when you get back to them on Monday, make the effort to show them that you’ve done a little bit of research around what they last purchased and say, hey, how are you going with that last purchase you made? So you know, in the online world you have some advantages because you can actually track a lot of these things a lot more easily because we’re moving towards this relatively automated and robotic environment. It’s a good opportunity for us as online business owners to humanize ourselves. And I spoke to Brian Clark about this in episode 116, he’s the founder of copyblogger and he talks about humanizing content.
Ash Roy: 26:33
So I think when you create a content strategy you can humanize that as well. Another really good thing that comes to mind is when I spoke to Joe Polizzi in episode 75 where he talked meeting your customer where they are on their journey. So the metaphor is this, if you are manufacturing washing machines, then your customer who is researching washing machines online isn’t interested in why your washing machine is better than the next guys washing machine. They just want to know the difference from the front loader on a top loader. So if you have taken the time to think about what your customer is seeing, thinking, feeling, hearing at that point in their journey when they were about to make a purchase of your product, then the content you create or the communication you have with them is going to be different. It’s going to be a bit more nuanced towards solving their problem. Which leads to the purchase. So don’t try and shove your product or service down the customer’s throat. Ask yourself what is a problem the customer is trying to solve? That may lead to the product or service that I’m selling. It may not, but just first solve their problem and meet them where they are.
Just find a pain point. That’s all got to do.
Ash Roy: 27:45
Yeah. So those are the key actions steps I had. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Look where they are showing like an absolute monster. I’ve actually cried because what I’ve found, and this is why I started, customer culture. Yeah. What I’ve found is most people don’t know how to go and train their staff. That’s the issue. Yeah. So what I’ve done is I’ve created the customer culture customers first training manual for staff and it’s, it’s not a fluff piece is a hundred and I’m going to make sure I’m not a lawyer here. There is 143 pages of workbook that you’ll end six modules that you, you put your staff through.
Ash Roy: 28:22
How does someone find that
Customerculture.com.au. Oh sorry, dot com now, customerculture.com. Okay. You won’t find it on there for sale. And that’s a deliberate thing because I want to talk to people about what their needs are. This is not a compliance thing. This is about making your staff competent. Hence why my business, my rules, we need to talk on the phone. And so what you want to do, cause I’ve gone have gone two ways with this as a, as a multiple choice version, which and but there’s also a work, this one is you’ve got to write out your answers and you want your staff to ride the answers out. Cause then we know what we need to fix. And this is where I’ve created this because staff, sorry, business and a settlement at the time. I just don’t have the time to go and figure out how to do this just and I go, well I’ll go for you. So that’s why we’ve created that. My favorite part of this is I’ve created a customer service personality test. So this is different to a personality tests. This is one that will show you each staff member what, how they naturally will look after a customer and what their natural style is. So then if you find that your, and we find this a lot in here salons, funny, you’ve got no hair, but I keep going.
Ash Roy: 29:32
I got a hair salons all the time.
Yeah. I’m wearing mine. Uptodate. Yeah, so this happens a lot in the hair industry or hair salons where they’ll do the test and they’ll realize that the lady or the person behind the counter, that’s the last and first and last person the customer sees is actually in a position that she doesn’t like talking to customers because the personality test shows that. So that shows the business on we’ll have, I then can improve our business. So if you are looking, if anyone’s looking for a resource to do, to train your staff with, we’ve got that because you want your all your staff to do it. That’s my advice because we then set the baseline. Everyone then knows how to, and then what’s not negotiable, how you do not treat our customers. It’s all now set out so there’s no excuse anymore that they didn’t know or they’re just doing it their own way.
Ash Roy: 30:22
Okay, so I’m going to say that url, again in case you’re driving and you’re listening to this and you missed it, it’s customerculture.com there is no dot a u at the end of that? No. And if you’re an American and you’re listening to this, I have a fair few American listeners or European, we say culture, but funnily so Americans would call it a culture and it’s c u s t o m e r c u l t u r e.com. That’s the URL. I will have that URL in the show notes of this episode, so be sure to look for that on productiveinsights.com. Now, Justin, how do people find you and how do they get in touch with you? Do you prefer them to go to customer culture.com or
Around the customer service stuff? Go there if it’s around anything else, if you want help with growing your business, whatever. Yeah. Then Justinherald.com is my other website.
Ash Roy: 31:17
And that’s spelled j u s t i n h e r a l d.com
As in Hark the Herald.
Ash Roy: 31:23
Well, thanks so much for being on the show, Justin. You are legend and I look forward to having you back on again some time.
No worries, mate. Thank you so much.