John DiJulius | Customer Service Keynote Speaker

Monthly Mash: Customer Experience Tools and Secret Service

Volume 1: October 2011 Mashup

Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.

Many thanks to those who participated and supported the naming of this series! You know who you are.

Customer Experience Resource: John DiJulius

John DiJulius | Customer Service Keynote SpeakerThis month’s spotlight is on John DiJulius, one of the premiere customer experience keynote speakers, authors, and consultants around. He has written two excellent books about customer service: What’s The Secret and Secret Service, both of which I highly recommend. I had the pleasure of seeing DiJulius speak at the Multi-Unit Franchise show this past spring, and his presentation was simply excellent. I mentioned the customer service video he showed during his talk in an earlier post.

I thought John DiJulius would be a fitting first spotlight for the Monthly Mash, as his work has been one of the bigger influences on my customer service thinking and, more aptly, because I am very excited to be attending his Secret Service Summit this week! One of DiJulius’ core teachings is having invisible systems (hence, Secret Service) that seamlessly help organizations deliver an exceptional customer experience. Please check out John DiJulius’ website, blog, and books. You won’t be disappointed.

The Month In Customer Service Blogging

A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.

Someone Was Listening

Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I am most proud of.

Thoughts on the Customer

In China a Zen master traveled with a few disciples to the capital and camped near the river.  A monk of another sect asked one of the disciples of the Zen master if his teacher could do magic tricks.  His own master, said the monk of the other sect, was a very talented and developed man.  If he stood on one side of the river, and somebody else stood on the other side, and if you gave the master a brush and the other man a sheet of paper then the master would be able to write characters in the air which would appear on the sheet of paper. 

The Zen monk replied that his master was also a very talented and developed man, because he too could perform the most astounding feats.  If he slept, for instance, he slept, and if he ate, he ate.

Buddhist Tale*

I’ve thought more and more about this story in recent years, as our lives have become increasingly intertwined with the technologies of the day. While there is a powerful lesson here for life, there is also a powerful lesson for anyone who touches a customer.

Our customers deserve our attention. Are you present in the moment and focused on the person you are serving? Have you left your inbox, To Do list, and voicemails behind while you focus on the customer and what they are saying about their needs? It sounds simple; yet, as most of us know, in today’s world, true focus might be one of the most difficult feats of all.

I hope you enjoyed the Monthly Mash. Feel free to share it using the social share buttons below.

*Please forgive the lack of attribution. I copied this from a collection of Buddhist stories over 15 years ago, and an exact word search on Google yielded nothing.


By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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17 replies
  1. Bill Dorman
    Bill Dorman says:

    Customer service is such an integral part of my day job it it always interesting to see what works for other industries and how you can incorporate that into your model. Whereas when I first started in insurance I was more a student of insurance than anything and I just happened to work well with people. However, as we evolved and realized the importance of growing organically, I had to become a student of sales as well. As part of that model, customer service is one of the legs that give you credibility and creates loyalty.

    Good article and series indeed. Good to see you back.

    • Adam Toporek
      Adam Toporek says:

      Thanks Bill! You touch on a great point — we all begin learning our product or service, but just as important are learning the techniques that facilitate creating and maintaining a relationship between our product/brand and the customer.

      Appreciate the comment — and it’s good to be back! 🙂

  2. Shakirah Dawud
    Shakirah Dawud says:

    Adam, I like how the article about Zappos says we have to look beyond our own industries for customer service expectations, because–especially online, in my personal experience–it’s all the same to us, with very few exceptions. For example I love Amazon’s free shipping for orders over $x, and it was among the first and largest companies to do that. Now, just everyone has some variation of it.

    • Adam Toporek
      Adam Toporek says:

      Hey Shakirah, I think you’re right that the bar keeps getting raised by companies like Amazon and Zappos. The irony is that, considering the state of service for most businesses, the bar raising actually serves to create a wider gap between the performers and those who fall behind.

  3. Gabriella
    Gabriella says:

    I wish more people understood how important customer service is. I’m glad that I stumbled upon your blog because I love reading about people’s experiences and things in general.

    Great selection of posts and articles that i need to read 🙂

  4. Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach
    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach says:

    Hi Adam,
    I am gratified that you found the post on Most Bizarre Customer Experience worthy of your list. There is so much to be gleaned from each customer service story because it paints the feeling better than a “how satisfied were you” metric.

    I welcome your stories at my blog and look forward to a long and enlightening connection with many exchangse.

    Warmest wishes,

    • Adam Toporek
      Adam Toporek says:

      Hi Kate,

      I completely agree — stories really can have a lot more impact than stats or facts. I liked your post because you drew a great line from the experience to the relevant takeaways.

      I’ll be certain to be back by your place soon, and I too look forward to more connection in the future.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! All the best.

    • Michelle Quillin
      Michelle Quillin says:

      Kate, I loved the eye doctor horror story, too! Yours reminded me of my own bizarre eye doctor story. I’ve never been treated so rudely and patronizingly in my entire life.

      Just one tidbit: Dr. Rude handed me a mask to cover one eye while I read the chart. When I had to flip the mask over to cover my other eye, he said, “Well, you passed the IQ test.” He wasn’t kidding, either, as evidenced by the remarks he made over the next hour.

      Today, I’d handle things much differently.

      Great Mashup, Adam! I’ve bookmarked a few of these for later reading and sharing!

      • Adam Toporek
        Adam Toporek says:

        I’m glad you liked the Mashup Michelle! I might have to ping you down the road on your eye doctor story — might be a good entry in the Customer Service Stories series. 🙂

        Thanks for sharing!

  5. Michael
    Michael says:

    In my opinion customer service in the most important part of any business, no matter what service you provide. If face to face or telephone communication with a client was poor or unprofessional. You could damage any relationship that you may already have with this client and any other potential client as your are now known for producing poor customer service.

    Thanks for sharing Adam! 🙂

  6. Leonard Evenson
    Leonard Evenson says:

    customer service for me is an important factor in my business, because that is THE moment the customer, who we would like to stay our customer, actually has a personal experience with my company. Therefore these articles have been informative in the sense that I should check my employees working on this position to see whether they are still keeping up the quality level I set them off with, or if it has dropped.
    I personally know of people who work at some multinational companies in the customer service department in such a way that the language they need to speak is their second language (this is not a huge problem in itself) but they have absolutely no knowledge in the field they are giving the advice, but they have a colleague who has the expertise but can’t speak a word of the language. I can just imagine the quality of service the two of them give together from the caller’s point of view.
    So, knowing these bad examples, I know what I don’t want to have in my company, and also what I am aspiring towards. The social media article was the most helpful for me.
    Wishing you all the best, Leonard Evenson

    p.s. I am sorry about the keywords in the name, but the site is not a blog, so I couldn’t use commentluv, and I didn’t want to inject the link in the text, because it had nothing to do with it, yet, I’d like to get a backlink from your page. Thank you for understanding.


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