Tell us a little about yourself.
I am working to redefine customer service in corporate America today. To this end, I’ve written five books on the subject (my latest is “The Relationship Economy”), and give keynotes and workshops on how to provide unforgettable customer service every day. I’ve developed the 10 commandments of customer service that can be adapted to improve the service aptitude of employees at all levels. Organizations across America are using my philosophies and systems for creating world-class service, including The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstroms, Panera, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, National City Bank, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-a and many more. I’ve worked with extremely large companies and smaller businesses in a variety of industries.I’m the owner, president and Chief Revolution Officer of The DiJulius Group, customer service consultants and training academy, and also the founder, owner and president of John Robert’s Spa, which was named among the top 20 salons in America with multiple locations (and over 150 employees). The spas serve as living laboratories to test my findings and theories.
What exactly does your company do?
The DiJulius Group provides hands-on customer service content, education, consulting and training to allow our clients to become the brand their customers can’t live without.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Building rapidly growing companies without compromising our values is an ongoing challenge. We want to capitalize on opportunities, we don’t want to turn business away, we want to take advantage of high demand — which means we need more people quickly. In the beginning, we could be really choosy and interview 25 people to find that one great one. However, in growth mode, we may need 25 people! We can and have compromised on who we hire. Knowing who we are and what we want to be and sticking strictly to that remains a key challenge.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
It’s hard to say because I didn’t realize how great advice was until later, so I didn’t listen and had to find out the hard way. I think experience is the best education. And every time I’ve failed, which has been many times, it’s made me better moving forward.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?
Among the people I know, I include my mother because she raised six kids on her own and was just a force of resiliency. Also, Frederic Holzberger (a longtime distributor of ours), saw something in me long before anyone else — or even me. He put me on stage as a speaker and kept putting me on stage and recommending me as a speaker for other conferences. Twenty-five years later, I have a successful speaking business that I never would have dreamed of having. The power of believing in people before they even believe in themselves is an amazing gift I try to replicate. Among people I don’t know, Howard Schultz from Starbucks has been someone I admire so much. Given where he came from, I admire his ambition and, most of all, how he built a socially conscious company that’s morally grounded and generous in so many areas.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I attribute 100 percent of my success to the collection of relationships I have: from my closest friends and mentors to my managing partners and leaders in my businesses, to longterm employees and customers who have become more than just business associates, and to my sons and my significant other. I’m grateful to every one of them. I also try to collect relationships with rare people. The keyword is “rare,” for I’m extremely choosy. I collect relationships with uncommon, loyal, unique, highly moral, genuine and, most importantly, positive people. If I’m judged by the people I surround myself with, then I’m a champion.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
My three amazing sons, Johnni, Cal and Bo. I envy the qualities they possess and want to be more like them.
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