Train Your Staff to Deliver Memorable Customer Moments with These Tips from Joseph Michelli, Author of ‘Driven to Delight’

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There are many factors that go into providing your clients with an excellent customer experience. We all know the big ones, product quality, convenience, speed, and brand, but what about the equally important but often overlooked ones, like empathy, understanding, and creating memorable moments? Well, our guest today walks us through the qualities that your dealership can focus on to authentically engage and influence customers in order to deliver memorable customer moments. We’re pleased to welcome back Joseph Michelli, New York Times Best-Selling Author, and customer experience expert.

Joseph also discusses the difference between EQ (emotional intelligence) and IQ and how important it is to your customer experience to increase your sales staff’s EQ. To hear more on this from Joseph check out his other appearances on CBT News.

memorable customer momentsVIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Hello, everyone. Thanks very much for joining us on today’s show. We are so happy to have with us Mr. Joseph Michelli, who is a New York Times bestselling author and a world-renowned speaker and a customer experience expert. Thank you so much, Joseph, for joining us once again on the show.

Joseph Michelli:
Good to be with you, Jim, always.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. So let’s kind of jump in here. A big part of the customer experience is creating customer moments. Talk to us about the three types of memorable customer moments.

Joseph Michelli:
Some of us have really long relationships with customers, and we think we have to nail everything. The good news is, human memory doesn’t force us to have to nail everything. Human memory has its failings, and it tends to favor certain things. Humans tend to remember the beginning of a relationship. They tend to remember the end of a relationship. They tend to remember how much pain you put them through and not the positive moments. So if we could focus on those, we create more memorable experiences for our brands.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure, and what are typically the three types? I mean, is it just the beginning and the peak?

Joseph Michelli:
Yeah, no, the researchers, the cognitive researchers who study these things, you know, talk about peak and they talk about pain moments. They talk about transition moments. They talk about arrival moments. They all have components to them, primacy effects, recency effects. From a practical business owner perspective, it’s when that person shows up on your website or in your office or on your phone. Those first four or five seconds are invaluable at setting the tone for whether or not I belong here or not.

Joseph Michelli:
So that’s one of those moments you really want to own, and then obviously, any time you’re passing a customer from one phase of their journey with you to another, maybe it’s a sales space to a service phase, maybe it’s a warranty phase, whatever it might be, those are really tricky moments. If anything ever goes wrong, how well you manage those pain points, those tend to be tricky moments, and then if you’ve done everything terrible, just end the ending with a big stick-it landing, like you’re a gymnast, right? I mean, that’s going to save you in a lot of ways.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. For for the people that are watching, how can you better deliver memorable customer experiences?

Joseph Michelli:
I think one of the first and foremost things is understanding that memory is tied to emotion, right? So if everything is blah, there’s never going to be a story to tell. There’s no emotional investment on your part. There’s no emotional skin in the game, on the customer’s part, and it probably isn’t going to be remembered. The things we remember …

Joseph Michelli:
If I said, “Remember a concert you attended,” most people will tell you either a train wreck of a concert they attended, or more likely, the best concert they’ve ever attended, because the emotion was so high in those instances that of all of the concerts ever attended, the ones that jump out when asked are the ones that are most richly emotional.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, that’s a very good point, because when you were just going through that now, I’m thinking of the concerts and sure enough, they were the worst one and they were the best one. So you’re absolutely right. How can increasing your sales staff’s emotional intelligence improve the customer experience?

Joseph Michelli:
So this is something that we … Just to make it real clear, emotional intelligence is different than IQ. So EQ is different than IQ. IQ, you’re stuck with it, you know. Thank your mom or your dad for your genetics on that one. All it’s going to do is make it easier or harder to learn stuff, but IQ never made anybody rich. It doesn’t. It just makes it harder to learn or easier to learn.

Joseph Michelli:
EQ is all about being able to engage people in emotionally relevant relationships, and if you hire people who already have that in there, like Prego, it’s in there, that EQ is in there, you’re going to have better sales, and there’s data on this. There’s scientists who’ve studied the power of EQ, right? So if you know what EQ is, and if you knew how to select for it, and the cool part about EQ, unlike IQ, IQ is fixed. EQ is malleable.

Joseph Michelli:
So you could literally take a person who has a lot of EQ and build them up even more and build your entire sales team up so they are really engaged with others, and we can talk about the components of EQ, but the message here is I would study EQ and drive EQ in my sales business.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Absolutely. What are the core qualities and characteristics salespeople should focus on when it comes to influencing and authentically engaging customers?

Joseph Michelli:
So I think one of the things about the conversation about EQ is that it really starts with the premise that we need to listen to other human beings. We need to study what other people want, need, and desire. If you start from a place of otherness, you are an EQ kind of person, right? So you have to be able to understand what other people need, want in an environment.

Joseph Michelli:
There’s also a large measure of understanding the impact you have on other people, and there are some people that are completely oblivious to the way they influence others. So those elements are really pretty important, and I think you can see this in interviews, particularly behavioral interviews, when you’re hiring, but you can also teach people how to shift focus away from themselves and to the needs of the other person.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. It’s so vitally important for companies to bring on people that have got a great positive mindset that are going to be taking care of their customers. How do you determine who’s going to have a great positive mindset far beyond the interview process? You know, so everybody’s on their best behavior. They all sing the same thing: “Oh, I’m a positive person and I get up every morning and I have a can-do attitude, and I think I look at every situation as the glass half full,” and they give you all the one liners. But how do you really make sure that that person has a good attitude and a good outlook towards life and therefore you feel trusted to give them your customers?

Joseph Michelli:
Yeah, I love to put people in behavioral interviewing situations and have predetermined what are some of the better answers, and some of the worst answers and not just give people free rein to say, “Tell me about yourself” kind of questions, in terms of what’s great about you or what …

Joseph Michelli:
The kinds of questions you ask is, “Give me a situation where something did not come to you easily and explain to me how it was that you managed that situation.” Or “Give me a situation where you had to make a decision between the interest of the customer and the interest of the business.” And really, what you start to see is how people process, not what they claim, but how they are processing certain situations.

Joseph Michelli:
So I think, you know, jobs, for me, should be something that you hire kind of slowly and fire kind of quickly, in the sense that we really should get to know people, bring them in to some kind of a job relationship with us, but really determine the goodness of fit over time, and whenever we determine somebody is not a fit, we need to help them find something that fits them better before they contaminate our workplace.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, for sure. There’s those employees out there that think that it’s okay to have kind of a negative attitude, maybe with fellow employees or even with customers, so long as they do their job good, and therefore they’re safe and they can have this negativism constantly flowing from them. You may know what I’m talking about, right? Everyone’s come across people like that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Is their job at risk in the event that they don’t have a good attitude, but man, they’re checking all the boxes in all the other areas? First one to leave. I should say first one there in the morning, last one to leave. Does an impeccable job with everything else, but they just have a negative way about them that affects others.

Joseph Michelli:
Yeah. Well, if their job isn’t at risk, your company’s at risk. I mean, your culture is at risk. Really, at the end of the day, we have high performers who are just prima donnas in every business. They really are all about themselves. They produce well, but for some reason or another, they don’t get the notion that this world wasn’t built for them to just receive. It was built for them to be able to give.

Joseph Michelli:
And I think that leaders who allow it to happen, then, are the ones who ultimately realize that the entire workforce has gone that way, because all the good people left. The people who really cared left, and now you’ve got such a challenge to manage, and it’s not sustainable for the short term. You can have success under those models, but if you look at businesses today where customers expect so much more in the way they’re cared for, it’s just not a sustainable model.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, for sure. Well, thank you so much for all the time. I do want for you to talk a little bit about your new book coming out. Tell us all about it. You knocked the cover off the ball on all these books about customer experience, and I know this is going to be another huge winner for you, so share with us …

Joseph Michelli:
We’re really honored to do a book about Airbnb. It’s called The Airbnb Way, and the exciting part of this is that Airbnb really has to create belonging for people to go into a stranger’s home. They have to deal with trust. They have to, at a corporate level, get all these individuals who have their homes for rent or a room for rent and try to create some kind of a branded customer experience that invokes warm and caring. And so this book really looks at anybody who’s trying to host another human being, maybe on a TV interview or possibly they are hosting them just in their office, for example, or in a dealership, or any other kind of business that they might find themselves.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Joseph Michelli, I want to thank you so much for joining us here on the show. This has been great. New York Times bestselling author, customer service and customer experience expert, Joseph Michelli. Thank you so much.

Joseph Michelli:
Yeah, my big ending moment. This is an emotional moment, the goodbye. So goodbye, everyone. Thanks very much for letting me be a part of it.

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