Leadership and teamwork are the two things that will determine if your company is ready for an expansion. Bedros Keuilian believes that having a vision plays a big part in this growth. This vision stems from a leader’s self-esteem when they seek no approval of their decisions because they have already seen the company’s success. Recognized as the world’s thought leader in customer experience, Colin Shaw teaches organizations that a customer is a human being and not an automaton. This doesn’t mean that the customer gets whatever ever they want, but that businesses should simply think of the customer and how they can make an impact in their lives with their product or service.
We have Bedros Keuilian and Colin Shaw. Bedros is the CEO of the fastest growing fitness franchise Fit Body Boot Camp. He’s a New York Times best-selling author. He’s everywhere, same with Colin Shaw. He’s everywhere as well. He is the world thought leader in customer experience.
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How To Know When To Expand with Bedros Keuilian
I am here with Bedros Keuilian, who is the best-selling author and high-performance business consultant. He is the Founder and CEO of the fastest growing fitness franchise Fit Body Boot Camp. He’s known as the hidden genius that entrepreneurs in New York Times best-selling authors turn to when they want to sell more of their products, services, books, high level coaching, and consulting programs. Bedros is best known for his ability to help his clients quickly establish expertise and authority positioning so they can become the industry-recognized leaders in their field. He’s famous for helping 24 of his clients go from being in debt to growing seven-figure generating empires. It’s so nice to have you here, Bedros.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity.
It’s so nice for you to be here and thank you for that, but I didn’t get a chance to really chat with youat the Genius Network event. Were you here for long or did you just come in and out for that event?
I just came in and out for the event. I was there both days, but after I spoke, Craig and I hit the road.
That was quite an event. Joe Polish does a great job with that. I got to meet so many individuals that were just amazing. I wish I’d had time to spend with you, but I was looking forward to this. I’m very interested in what you do, because you’re very successful and you dominate the fitness industry. For people that don’t know your back story, can you just give a little bit about how you got to be so successful?
I was very fortunate. I was raised in and a ton of adversity and in a culture that I had no idea what the culture was, and in a country that I didn’t speak the language. All of those works to my advantage. My father decided that we’re going to escape communist Soviet Union in 1980. I was six years old when we came to the United States. We were a family of five, and I was the baby of the family. When you come to a country where you don’t understand the culture, you don’t speak the language, you’re broke and you’re poor. People always ask me, what’s the difference between broken poor broke? Donald Trump has been broke several times and he may end up going broke again, but poor is a state of mind. It’s this state of mind where you, you’re always lacking for money. You always feel like they have money and you don’t. We had a poor mindset and we were financially broke. When you come to this country and the odds are stacked against you, as it turns out, that’s no different than how grapes are grown for wine. The best grapes that are grown for wine are usually grapes that are grown in very tough soil, tough adversity,and those really turns to the best wine. I believe that’s been the best advantage that I’ve had, having to learn the language, to be able to build rapport with folks here.Understand the culture of how business is done growing up, because coming from a communist country to a democratic country where you have freedom and abundance, I have to understand how to use that to my advantage. What being in service of people really means in this country is so amazing. It’s serving others. I believe that as an immigrant, it was my duty to serve the country and as I did, I was able to bring value back.
When you come to a country like this and you’re broke and poor, you’re eating government peanut butter, government cheese, bologna, and white bread. I found myself very overweight by the senior year of high school. I was interested in going to the prom. I knew the prom was coming up towards the end of the year. What can I do to go to prom? I asked the friend in class, I said, “You’re in great shape. You’re on the football team. What do you do?” He said, “Get some muscle magazines and just start working out with the programs that are in there.”I lost 30 pounds, and even though I got in great shape, I didn’t have enough nerve to ask out Natalia to the prom. She was the girl that I had to ask for. That’s an important part of the story, because even though I got to the body that I wanted, I didn’t have the self-esteem and self-image to ask her to the prom. I never went to the prom, but that completely changed my trajectory in life. I was supposed to get out of high school and go work for my cousin’s auto shop and be a mechanic.Instead I chose to get certified as a personal trainer, and then my journey into the fitness industry began. It was a very bumpy journey by the way.I was struggling to make money, and so I was a personal trainer, training clients in the mornings.I was a fry cook at Disneyland during the day, and then I was a bouncer at a bar on the weekends just to make ends meet.
I was telling out loud one of my clients, his name is Jim Franco. I said, “Jim, I don’t see any nurses and doctors and lawyers who have side jobs just to make ends meet. Me and all my fellow personal trainers seem to all have multiple side jobs.” He said, “Can I tell you why that is? It’s because you’re a horrible salesman.” It was pretty painful to hear that. Being naïve, I said, “Jim, I beg to differ. I sold you six months of personal training. You come here three times a week. That’s a lot of money.” He goes, “First of all, LA Fitness is getting the money, not you. They’re paying you about $11 an hour. Secondly, you just took my order. I came in here looking for six to eight months of personal training, work to work out three times a week, and you just took my order. You’re an order taker, you’re not a salesperson.” That was a tough pill to swallow and he kept driving that point home. He goes, “You’re no different than a waiter at a restaurant. People walk in hungry and you take their order and you feed them. I see youlet people walk all day long, who should be buying personal training from you. I believe they give you objections that you can’t overcome or you’re unprepared to overcome.” I said, “What do I do?” The next day he shows up with a Tom Hopkins. There’s a connection there. Tom Hopkins talks about Brian Tracy, so I get a Brian Tracy. Brian Tracy leads to Dan Kennedy, Dan Kennedy leads to Zig Ziglar, and before I know it, I’m learning sales and marketing.
All of a sudden,I’ve embraced this new world of selling, marketing, influence, and service. I went from working inside of LA Fitness as a personal trainer, trading time for money, to owning and ultimately opening up five personal training gyms in San Diego, building them up, and selling them. I sold them just in time where the internet bubble had burst in 2001, so by 2002, I sold my gyms. I had a nice chunk of change. I said, what should I do? While I was running my five gyms, personal trainers would contact me and said, “How did you open up one gym, let alone five? Can you tell us the secret?” The only question I had to qualify them was, “Are you a personal trainer here in San Diego?”If you’re not going to compete with me, then I’ll teach you. If you’re in San Diego, sorry. I said, “Are you training in San Diego? They said, “No, I’m not.” I said, “Great, let me help you.” I’d give them the advice and what I do to lead boxes and then how we call those leads and how we follow up with them. I figured Jim helped me, and I had to pay it forward. That was one of the big lessons he gave me as my first mentor. I said, “Jim, how can I repay you?” “Just pay it forward.” That’s easy enough. Lo and behold, I enjoyed helping other fitness business owners so much that after selling my gyms, I went full speed into coaching and consulting. Here we are, almost thirteen years later, the coaching and consulting turned into starting a franchise, the franchise turned into now a two time Inc. 5000 fastest growing company and Entrepreneur’s top fifteen franchise list. I’m just really blessed that I got to do it, all because of a girl that I wanted to take the prom. Talk about a fork in the road.
What’s interesting about that is what motivates people. Was it a drive that you had naturally and something that just sparked it? Do you think you’re a curious person? How much of this was based on your curiosity of how to figure out how things work?
I’ve always been curious. In 1996, a friend of mine said, “I’ve got this laptop, do you want to buy it?” It was an old Toshiba laptop.He worked at Circuit City and he was able to get it for a discount then he would sell it for just slightly over the discount. Thinking back, I realized what he was doing was probably illegal. In 1996, I got a laptop. By 1997, I’m opening up an online store because I go, “This internet thing is very curious.” I’m in fitness-specific chat rooms, and I’m curious what this is all about. I opened up an online supplement company, and it failed. It crashed and burned and I ended up getting evicted out of my apartment because I used the last of my rent money to buy more supplements to sell, because supplements would expire and of course I had to throw them away. That was my first time having entrepreneurial curiosity. In the past, as a kid, I’ve been curious and I’ve gotten in trouble, but in entrepreneurial curiosity, it is so important to go, “What is this? What’s it going to do in the future? How can I use it?” Even though I wasn’t successful with my first attempt at using the internet to sell stuff, I saw the potential had and it was all because of curiosity.
What made you get back on the horse? Some people will go, “I lost all my rent. I’m done.”
What made me get back on the horse was I had figured out very quickly when I had the job at LA Fitness and Disneyland and the bar that I am not employable. I am just horrible employee. The reason is I just always felt like there’s a better and different way to do what we’re doing, but I wasn’t the owner or the manager or the VP of the company.Unlike my company here where I get my team members a voice, I didn’t have a voice. I would get frustrated when I would try to do something different and I wasn’t allowed to do it. I said, one day, I’m going to be my own boss. I figured the internet was going to be the fastest route to that. I was already looking to be self-employed simply because I was unemployable, and the pain of losing money in failing at businesses was still not bad enough to get me to go get a job somewhere.
It’s what you can handle more than what you don’t want. It’s fascinating to see where people’s pain point is. When you get successful though, it gets to be a different challenge in terms of having too many things to choose from and too many opportunities. Did it ever get to the point where you had too many options? Did that frustrate you?
Let me tell you an example of this. When I’m speaking from the stage on one of the talks I do, I have a little phrase and I say if you end up as an entrepreneur, especially as a mid-level entrepreneur, you end up getting overwhelmed with opportunities. At first nobody wants to do business with you because you are high-risk, nobody knows you. You’re not trusted, so it’s just you trying to figure it out. Then you get to that mid-level space where people go, “This person might be shooting star. Let me see if I could do business with them and come to them with an opportunity to promote something.” Right around 2010,as I came up with the idea of our Fit Body Boot Camp franchise, I was also doing well as a coach and a consultant to the fitness industry. Supplement companies would reach out to me and say, “What if you can promote supplements to the personal trainers, then you can make money that way?” Publishers of e-books would reach out to me and say, “What if you can get those personal trainers to write e-books and create follow-on work-outs and you can make money that way?” I was so overwhelmed with opportunity, that I found that I was being effective in the one thing that I really had my guns at the time, which was starting our Fit Body Boot Camp franchise. The irony there is I would have been more successful sooner with our franchise had I said no. As Warren Buffets says, he says the difference between successful people and really successful people are that the really successful people say no way more often the successful people, so that they can say yes to the one thing that matters. I had to learn the tough way, by saying yes to all these opportunities that would overwhelm me, and then I would end up being the bottleneck in all of them, and those were actually counterproductive.
How do you know which ones to say no to? Sometimes that’s hard. You can look back and it’s obvious sometimes, but then when you’re in it, isn’t it a little harder?
When you’re in it, it is harder, because you’re clouded by so many things. You are clouded by the potential. You are clouded by your potential business partner. You are clouded by the potential of what it can become, when you start doing what I call a funny math. “I have 100,000 personal trainers on my list and 20,000 will buy the supplements and they buy it over and over again.” You are clouded by the potential of the business. You are clouded by what your business partners would try to take away from you or pull you towards.You are clouded by the fact that everyone around you, if you’re the boss, is saying yes. They’re saying “Yes, that’s a great idea. Do it,” because they just think that you say yes to everything you say, which is not the best thing. You don’t want to surround yourself with yes people. You want to surround yourself with people who are clear with your vision and always pull you back on track. Today, the acid test I give myself because I’m still giving a lot of opportunities and these days I get to come up with a lot of ideas, but I go back to a simple test that I give myself which is, “Is this what I’m passionate about? Is what I’m about to start, this new opportunity, going to help me help 100 million people worldwide with fitness and health?” If the answer is no, then I go right back to what I’m focused on, which is my coaching clients, because they own fitness businesses and through them I can help more people, and our Fit Body Boot Camp franchisees, because through them I can help more people.
That brings up an interesting point about how big you should get.Is it better to just stay in one location, or is it always good to expand? How do you know when you go bigger, even if it’s all ties back to your overall goal?
It should all start with a vision. You should have a vision. My vision has always been to wake up every morning and know that there’s 100 million people worldwide using the services that I created, especially the health and fitness services, because there’s all types of services. Whether it’s a brick and mortar pie shop or a one off personal training studio or someone who’s starting a franchise like me, how do you know when to grow and duplicate and multiply? The answer is two things, leadership and team. No one is born a great leader. If people say, “That person was born a great leader.” No. The argument is they were born with great self-esteem and self-image, so they’re not approval seeking or they’re not needy, and they’re not looking for validation and therefore they feel free to have ideas and to lead people without feeling like they have to seek their approval. On the flip side, people who are considered, “I’m a bad leader,” what they’re really saying is,“I have low self-esteem and low self-image.” In other words, “How I feel about myself as negative, and how I think other people see me is negative, and therefore I need approval and validation and so I’m afraid to use my voice to lead.” There is no good leader or born leader, it is just a developed leader. Leadership is extremely important, because a great leader has vision, they have clarity of path, and a team that you can constantly scale. If you can scale your team, you could open up a second, third, fourth, or fifth location. In my case, I can open up more franchises, I can get more coaching clients.If you don’t have a high performance team and if you’re an ineffective leader, this thing is going to crash and burn once you step out from one location and try and duplicate the two.
It’s really important to surround yourself with people who can do things that you can’t do. One of the things I got out of going to that networking event was you get so many people around you who have so many great ideas. Do you find it’s really important to network and to be around that type of energy? What does that do for you?
I do enjoy being around that type of energy. I do like networking. Very much like Joe Polish, these days I’d rather connect people. I’d rather give them value than say, “Let’s go into business together.” It’s so funny, when you’re in that new stage as an entrepreneur, you just want to partner up with everybody that you network with, because I call it The Man on the White Horse Syndrome. You think that that’s the man on the white horse that’s going to save the day. They’ve got the list, they’ve got the influence, they gotthe better copyrighting skills, lead generation, and traffic. There is no man on the white horse. You’re the man or woman on the white horse to save your own day. Once I realized that, I was able to turn my whole franchise around from failure to massive success.These days, I go to events like that and I just do what exactly what Joe Polish does. I just connect as many people as I can, build my Rolodex, knowing that if I have to somedaycall upon someone for some reason for favor, I’ve got equity in the bank with them, because I made a connection or a business partnership. I made a connection for a vendor. I made a connection for traffic buyer. My goal, and I’ll never reach it because Joe is amazing at this, is to connect more people than Joe Polish has. It’s the moon shot that they talked about.
People go, “Is Gary Vaynerchuk really going to buy the New York Jets?” I don’t know if he’s going to buy them, but he set himself up for a moon shot, and he knows that he has to make so much money and be networked and connected to so many people that he has the ability to buy them one day. Whether he buys them or not is irrelevant. It’s just that that’s his moonshot. Financially, my moon shot is to wake up every morning and know that we help 100 million people worldwide through health and fitness and through my products and services. With Joe, with these networking events, my big moonshot is to connect more people than Joe Polish has. Now I know how I’ll ever get there, but I’m going to come pretty damn close by the end of my life. If I do, I built one hell of a Rolodex, I’ve come with a giving hand, and because of that, I’m able to call in favors when I need it. For example, I’m writing a book right now, and I’ve got so many people who’ve reached out to me who the New York times best-selling authors.They’re influencers, they’re thought leaders.They’ll say, “Because you help me start a mastermind or you helped me connect me with this person, I hear you’re writing a book, tell me when I can have you on my podcast and tell me when I can promote your book.” That’s fantastic. These days, networking events for me are used for that and not necessarily to look for a partnership or an opportunity.
You can definitely expand your platform for a book. In your book, what are you focusing on?
The book title is Man Up: Cut The BS and Dominate Your Path. It’s really about my journey from 2011 and 2012, where my franchise was literally failing and I was losing more franchisees than gaining them every month, to where we are now.We’re an eight-figure company, and we are adding anywhere between 20 and 30 new franchise locations per month to the map. People always ask me what is man up? I said man up is when I decided to man up and become an effective leader. It’s when I decided to man up and become clear on my vision, and when I decided to man up and build a high-performance team. It’s really an entrepreneurial leadership book to help entrepreneurs who are spinning their wheels, overwhelmed with opportunity, spread a million different ways, suffering from anxiety, suffering in silence, and to teach them leadership, vision, and how to build a high-performance team so they can reach their fullest potential.
I’m curious what you think you were not doing to man up. What was the biggest problem you were experiencing?
I was always the victim. Things were always happening to me instead of me making things happen. My business partner was being a jerk. My business partner was giving away information to his coaching clients that belong to Fit Body Boot Camp. I have a particular employee who actually wiped our hard drives clean, poured coffee and carpet cleaning solution on our franchise contracts, and left. People go, “How’s it your fault?” It’s my fault because we had an adversary relationship that started to build through resentment even months before that. and I never had the tough talks and I never gave her the feedback to correct her because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I was approval seeking, I was validation seeking.What ended up happening was there was so much water built under the bridge that she decided that, “This is a very toxic environment for me to work.”She was absolutely right. This was a toxic environment for me to work in, but I’m the owner and I can get away. She decided, “To hell with Bedros,” and this is what she did. I don’t condone that, but I could’ve prevented that.
I had to accept the responsibility of having the team that I had let go haywire, having a business partner who I didn’t give feedback to. I would hit snooze three, four, or five times and not wake up because I was afraid of taking on the day because the day was so unpredictable. I had to start with me, I had to lead myself, and I have to start getting clear on my vision for the business. I shared my vision with my team. I had no vision before. People ask me, “Bedros, how many Fit Body Boot Camps do you want?” A lot. We’re going to have a whole bunch and we’re going to crush it. I would give these obscure terms,“A bunch, a lot, and we’re going to crush it.” What does that mean? How do you quantify that? Today I can tell you we want 2,500 locations by the end of the end of the year 2020, and we want less than a thousand owners, which means one owner is going to have at least an average of two point five locations. We do that so that we can have a small team here, the corporate office, and we can have more qualified and better owners who are not going to be disastrous to our brand. I knew exactly what I want, when I want it, what our path is, what our traffic sources are, what our metrics, and what our KPI’s are.
Today we have a running joke at our headquarters. It used to be that you could literally pour coffee and carpet cleaning solution on our franchise agreements and leave and nothing happens. Today, you missed an email, it doesn’t get responded to for more than 24 hours and we get wind of it. We have leadership team meetings, the person gets written up, and we create systems so that they never forget that email again. That’s where we’ve gotten. That’s what a high performance team does. We fix things when they’re one degree off, instead of letting them get 50 degrees off and then we emotionally react. There’s more emotional reaction. Today we just strategically respond with confidence and go, “This is what we’re going to do,” so that never happens again.
I’m sure Joe must have found that story interesting since it was carpet cleaning. That isa very interesting transformation. What did you do to teach yourself that? Did you go get help to have this transformation?
Unfortunately, it’s not a light switch. I liken it to more of a dimmer switch that you’re slowly turning on. The lights start coming on. I realized, “You’re 30 pounds overweight. You’re in the fitness industry. What happened while I was stressing?” I decided to take control. It’s funny when you go to take control, you first want to take control of your business. “I’m going to start telling people what to do,” and you say it with aggression. Joel Weldon calls it you become a half-two leader instead of a one-two leader. Meaning you’re so mean towards people that they feel like they have to do something or their job depends on it,instead of they want to do it so they let you down. I became that guy. I’m going to turn the ship around. I just decided to be a jerk to everybody and was mean, but I was incongruent with my message because I wanted them to show up on time. I wanted them not to miss a single step. I wanted them to deliver exceptional service, but I’d gotten fat, I was still sleeping in, I was showing up late to meetings, and so there was an incongruence in my message. I said, “Wait a minute, a tough guy. You’re going about it the wrong way. This is not what a leader does. A leader leads themselves first. You’re a personal trainer, let’s clean up your diet. Let’s get back to working out. Let’s actually wake up when the alarm goes off and not hit the snooze.”
When I did that, those small wins lead to bigger wins where I had confidence to go, “Hey guys, I’m showing up before you.” I started writing Monday morning emails to my team.That just came to me. There was no lesson learned. I knew where’s this approval-seeking is coming from. It’s a self-image thing, because I readPsycho-Cybernetics in that time and it talked about self-esteem and self-image. I have a self-image and self-esteem problem where I feel like I can’t lead or I don’t have a voice, even though I have this vision now of how I Fit Body Boot Camp to look. I said,“To hell with it. I’m going to go get a therapist.” I work with the therapist every single Monday at 6:00 PM after work for sixteen months straight, except for holidays. It was a ground-breaking experience. I did the work, so for me it was almost a 24-month transition of going from what I call a crop duster to a fighter jet. If you’re going to battle, do you take a fighter jet or crop duster? Entrepreneurship oftentimes is a battle. People paint whatever picture they want, but at the end of the day, there’s competition trying to take you out. There’s customers that are always looking for the better, cheaper, more powerful, and effective service or product, there’s team members being recruited. It is a war, it is a battle to be an entrepreneur and I was taking the crop duster to battle every single day and wondering why I was getting my butt handed to me. I chose to become a fighter jet, I chose to build fighter jets around me, high-performance team members, and I did the work on myself. When anyone else does that, they will achieve that outcome as well.
It’s interesting what works for everybody and how people get motivated and get their minds in the right mindset. With Tony Robbins, he gets into his ice bath. Everybody has their things they have done that they find out how to get mentally prepared. Your book sounds really fascinating. When do you expect that to be out?
The manuscript is in the hand of the publishers now, and it will hit the bookstores and Amazon July of 2018.
That’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to that. How can people find out more in the meantime? Do you have a website? How can they contact you?
The easiest way to contact me and to also learn more about the Man Up Philosophy of entrepreneurial leadership is to just go to ManUp.Com.
That’s easy. Thank you so much, Bedros. It’s so fun having you on the show. This was really interesting. I’m looking forward to your book.
Thank you so much for the opportunity.
The Customer Experience with Colin Shaw
I am here with Colin Shaw, who is recognized by others as the world thought leader in customer experience. LinkedIn has recognized him as one of the top 115 business influencers. Brand Quarterly voted Colin as one of the top 50 market thought leaders over 50 for the last two years in a row. Colin now has hundreds of thousands of followers of his work. He is the CEO of Beyond Philosophy, the leading CX consulting and training organization. He has also been a member of some of the groups that I’ve participated in and we’ve met in the past. It’s really nice to have you here, Colin. Welcome.
Thanks. I’m looking forward to our conversation. We normally have interesting and fruitful conversations, so I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve looked you up just for to remind me of your books, your intuitive building great customer experiences and stuff. You have written some amazing books and you are such an expert in the field of customer experience. Can you just give a little background on how you got to this point? What got you interested in customer experience?
Most of my adult life I spent in corporate life. I’m originally from England, and I was working at British Telecomm. My boss said something to me one day. He said, “I would like you to improve the customer experience, but do it at the least cost,” which is always the challenge they throw me, to do something at the least cost.We ran a big project in BT to improve the experience. Back in 2000, I suddenly thought that this should probably be a big thing and something organizations need to do. I decided to take the big leap and leave corporate life and start up on my own. That probably is the best decision I’ve ever made. That’s how I got there.
What do you think is the hardest part for people with helping create an amazing customer experience? Do you think it’s the same thing today as it was ten years ago, or does it change?
Unfortunately, I think it’s the same thing. If you think of most experiences that you have as an individual, most experiences you have or are either blind or not very good. Very few stand out as being good. It has a lot to do with mindset. It’s just how people in organizations look at customers. They tend to look at customers as if they are something to process or to transact. They don’t realize that customers are human beings with emotions and feelings and all those other wonderful things. They tend to think that they are automatons and machines, and they’re clearly not. The processes, the systems, and all those types of things have been built up to support the fact that they think that they’re transactional. The challenge is that organizations have got to change the way that people think about customers. It doesn’t mean giving customers everything they want, because people are in business to make money.It does mean thinking about the customer and thinking about the impact on the customer. All too often that just doesn’t happen.That’s the biggest issue facing any business, going to look to improve that experience, is how can they change the mindset.
How do you work with companies to get them to change their mindset so that you can help reach them in the way they want to be reached? Is it a training? What do you do with the companies? Walk me through that.
If you’re looking to change your experience, the reason that organizations will want to change their experiences is because typically they’re seeing an opportunity or they got a problem or a loss of market share. The first thing you really got to do is to take some research and to look up what drives value. If we have to make this change thing, what’s the ROI? What return are we going to get? Which bits are we going to change? The whole premise of where we’re coming from on is that customers are people; therefore, they’re driven by emotions. People are not logical. They don’t make logical decisions. You have to embrace all those things. What a customer may tell you is the problem may not be the problem. For instance, Disney know when they ask customers what they would like to eat at a Disney theme park, Disney knows that people say that they’d like to have an option of a salad when they are at a theme park. Disney also know that people don’t eat salads when they’re at a theme park. They eat hotdogs and hamburgers. There’s a big difference between what a customer might tell you. They aren’t always the problem and what actually they’re going to do or say. Therefore, undertaking research to find out what drives value is the first step, because this goes back to the mindset that everyone believes that improving the customer experience is the right thing, but it comes down are they actually going to invest money. You have to show them the upside.
Here is a key question. What’s the experience that you’re trying to deliver? Can you articulate what the experience is that you’re trying to deliver? From your emotional angle, can you articulate what emotions that you’re trying to evoke in your customers? Most organizations in our experiments don’t know the answer to that.We spend time with them effectively getting the answer to that question and defining what the experience is that they’re trying to deliver, because without that, everybody heads to different directions. Once you’ve done that, it’s then about designing the new experience. Journey mapping, but also building in the whole part from the emotional angle as well. Journey mapping, training of the frontline people, changing up the processes, changing the measurement, all line through. That would be a typical program that we would implement with a client.
That’s really fascinating. I have a couple of questions come to mind based on that. First of all, why do people say they want salads if they don’t really want salads? Also, are the motions we want different for each company? How do we know what emotions we want from people?
What I’ve come to realize over the years is that people are complex. This is where the whole area of psychology and behavioral economics and all those types of things come into play. You can’t just take what people say as being the logical choice. Just think about an argument you may have had with a significant other where you think you’re arguing about one thing and it turns out you’re arguing about something completely different. The issue for me is that you therefore have to understand some of the basic motivators and drivers of people. In my fourth book, The DNA of Customer Experience: How Emotions Drives Value, we did two years’ worth of research with London Business School to identify which emotions drive and destroy value for an organization. We ended up with twenty emotions. We look to all the official emotions that they were. Things like feeling stressed, feeling hurried, feeling frustrated, those are statistically proven to destroy value. If you want to lose market share, if you want to lose retention, those things.Then we’ve got things like feeling cared for, feeling valued, happy, trust, interested, and stimulated. Those are emotions that start to drive value. To answer your question, it goes back to the research. When we do the original research, we would look at the levels of emotional engagement across those twenty emotions that the customer has at the moment. We would define which of those would drive most value for them, and that would help them select which ones that tried to evoke in their customers.
I’ve had so many people on the show who talk about engagement, and when they’re talking about engagement, they’re talking about what workers feeling engaged about their jobs.It’s the same things and experience. If you treated customers and employees similarly, that seems like the same emotion. Words would be similar.
You’re absolutely right, because you’re talking about people. Whether it’s a customer experience or whether it’s an employee experience, what your experience is like being the employee, it’s all the same things. The psychology and the behavioral sciences absolutely apply. The questions we will ask our clients are, “What’s the employee experience that you’re trying to deliver? What emotions are you trying to evoke in your employees? Which one of those would drive most value?” Clearly a key issue then becomes aligning those between what you’re trying to do with the customer and what you’re trying to do with your employees and it makes sense that they are the same, because that will give you the most chance for success. That’s where I know in your space, the whole EQ comes in. If you’re trying to evoke trust or cared for or whatever it is, you need to employ people that are good at those or are naturally good at delivering those emotions.
In my research, I have studied emotional intelligence and sales performance, and it’s a high correlation. It’s something we see in terms of behaviors in general. We see a lot of problems in employee situation. People are kissing up, kicking down, and you want to look at the people who report to you as up, just like your customers are up. You want to look at it that way. Since everybody’s so unique and I give a lot of talks about generational differences, I’m curious what your research shows as what the customer experience should be for boomers versus Gen X-ers versus millennials. Is it a different experience? Does a generation make any difference?
The answer is yes or no. At the core, when you’re talking about cool things like trust or feeling cared for, then the human nature is such that it is clearly how you deliver trust or cared for. With a millennial or with a boomer, it may be different. If I went to some of the top end of the boomer range, talking on the phone is still a preferred method for that group. For millennials, it wouldn’t be. Cared for or trust would be there at the core, and that’s something you would need to do for everybody. How that got delivered to the different market segments then could be different.
It’s so challenging. I went to this Forbes CMO Summit last year. I created a brand publishing course with them.Just marketing and trying to get the messages across to people in the way they want to have the message delivered just in marketing terms is very difficult.Because you’ve got this message but then you’ve got the company growing so you’ve got to give it at scale and you’ve got to deal with all these vendors which a lot of them don’t communicate to one another well. Some of them do and some don’t. People want to get messages at a real personalized level. Are you finding that this is really challenging for people to market and get their messages out there in the way that people want to receive it?
Absolutely, because there are so many moving parts, but I go back to what I said before, which is I don’t think organizations help themselves. A couple of ways I would be advocating would be if you don’t know what the experience is that you’re trying to deliver to your customers, then how do you expect those different vendors and different parts of the organizations to deliver it? The other part for me is if you haven’t aligned your measurement to it. For me, if you’re saying that you want your customers to feel trust, cared for, and valued, then you need to measure whether they are or not, and measure whether the vendors are delivering whatever part of the experience are delivering against that. Very few organizations do that. It’s complicated, but I also don’t think that they’re making a particularly good job of it by causing themselves problems as well and not making it easy for themselves.
I’m looking at the companies you worked at, Xerox, Mars, British Telecom. The list is just unbelievable. American Express, FedEx. I’m looking at everybody from T-Mobile and IBM. When you’re at these conferences and you’re giving your presentations, what is it like? Do you get certain questions that you hear from them more, these big companies, more than any other question? Is there one area of pain that most people are asking about than anything else, or is it just overall just frustration with the customer experience in general?
The common question is if we improve on customer experience, prove to me that it will affect the bottom line. It’s a nice thing to talk about. One exec said to me once, “What person in their right mind would say that improving the customer experience is a bad thing to do?” Is it worth the investment? That’s a key one. An interesting one from a business to business perspective that ties into your world is “Do emotions apply in the business arena?” Clearly they do.It just goes to show the lack of understanding of that whole emotional, subconscious, and psychological part is just missing in organizations. What we find is that people that have got a high degree of emotional intelligence in an organization get that improving the customer experience is a good thing to do. Unfortunately, there are too many that don’t get it, so we have to spend a lot of time just getting people to understand that improving levels of service and the experience you give your customers actually pays back in dividends. You’ll get a lot more loyalty and all those other wonderful words.
I wrote a blog about how one key word impacts emotional intelligence and engagement sales, soft-skills, gamification, and millennials. It all comes back to emotions. It’s something that we don’t see a lot of training. When I ran the MBA program at Forbes School of Business, I was in control of looking at all the different courses. The first thing when I did the program review was to look to see what soft skills are developing in our graduates. I don’t know if we’re getting enough in college or if we should we have HR teaching this. Where do you think that we need to develop the soft skills in our employees?
I think that they need to be developed all over the place. Let me give you an example. From a strategic sense, we know the trust and caredfor valuesare the emotions that we’re trying to evoke. We’ve done the research to prove that they drove value. What you should therefore be getting your front line people to do is to evoke those emotions. The example I always give is that when I walk home at night, and I walk in the front door and I shout hello to my wife Lorraine, within a one-word response, I can tell you how Lorraine is feeling. I can tell you if she’s feeling happy or she’s feeling sad. The issue therefore is I’m evaluating effectively how she is feeling. My job then is to convert her if she’s feeling sad to feeling happy. The same applies therefore with the employees and the front line people and people in call centers and salespeople. They should have the ability to go in and sense and understand how the customer is feeling, and they should therefore then have strategies and capabilities to be able to convert that person from feeling frustrated and annoyed to feeling trusted, valued, or cared for. Most things on that aren’t dealt with enough. I would say in the call center, “How much training do you give them before they get to answer a call?” They will say six weeks. “How much social skills training is there?” “Two hours.”
It’s really important to do some of this training. I speak about personalities and different aspects of understanding personality assessment.If you’re selling to a different type, like if I’m an extrovert selling to an introvert, there’s skill to knowing how each person likes to receive their information. On the consumer end, once I learned all this, it’s really interesting to watch the customer experience and how they’re delivering it to me, if they’re even looking at caring how I’m being impacted. I’m sure now that you’ve written all this, do you just analyze as people are interacting with you? You’ve written some really interesting books. I think that customer experience, you can’t focus enough on that. You just can’t. There’s a lot of people out there talking about engagement and different factors, but this is one of the most important things to keep the customers. I see so many companies, they don’t hold on to the customers they already have. Of course you can prove ROI n that. It’s hard to be quantitative on some things that are emotions-based, but then anything that you can do to improve the customer experience is going to help the bottom line. Your books are amazing, and I’m wondering if you’re writing another one you since you’ve written so many.
There’s another one in the pipeline at the moment that hopefully will come out next year. I’m pontificating over it at the moment.
Is it the customer experience again, or something different?
It’s going to take the subject of a behavioral economics psychology and put it into much more easy to understand, one of these pick up and read for two hours and then put it down and get the key messages, which should be good.
I’m working on a book on curiosity leading to success, and I’m curious on your books that you read for behavioral economics. Do you have any books that you just highly recommend other than yours?
A couple of springs straight to my mind, one is Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. There’s another one, The Power of Habits. There’s a lot of great information. My last book, The Intuitive Customer, was about behavioral economics and customer experience. My co-author for that was Professor Ryan Hamilton, who teaches consumer psychology at Emory University. The whole of that area is absolutely fascinating.
I love all that too and if I can go back and get another degree, it would definitely be in that area, because I find it fascinating. It’s so important to know all the psychological aspects when you are in the business world. They interact. Your books are really helpful and I know a lot of people probably want to read them. How would they find you, and how would they find your books?
Thank you, Colin. It’s so nice to talk to you again. Maybe I’ll see you again at one of the C-Suite events. It’s just been always wonderful to chat, and I appreciate it.
Thanks very much for the opportunity to talk to you. It’s always good to have a chat about this stuff.
Thank you so much, Bedros and Colin, great guests. All of our guests are so wonderful here. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com/episodes. You can find us in iTunes. Look forward to the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Bedros Keuilian
Bedros Keuilian is a bestselling author and high-performance business consultant. He’s the founder CEO of the fastest growing fitness franchise; Fit Body Boot Camp. He’s known as the hidden genius that entrepreneurs and New York Times Best Selling authors turn to when they want to sell more of their products, services, books and high-level coaching and consulting programs. Bedros is best known for his ability to help his clients quickly establish expert and authority positioning so they can become the industry recognized leaders in their field. He’s famous for helping 24 of his clients go from being in debt to growing 7 figure generating empires, and helping thousands more turn their passion into multiple six figure businesses.
About Colin Shaw
Colin Shaw is recognized, by others, as a world thought leader in ‘Customer Experience’. LinkedIn have recognized him as one of the world’s Top 150 Business Influencers. “Brand Quarterly” voted Colin one of the ‘Top 50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50’ for the last two years in a row. Colin now has 243,000 followers of his work. Colin is CEO of Beyond Philosophy, the leading CX consultancy & training organization. Under Colin’s leadership, Beyond Philosophy has helped many of the world’s most prestigious organizations move their CX to the next level. One client, Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, improved their net promoter score by 40 points in 30 months.