One easy way to find out if you have a strong customer service culture

Do you feel your company has an obsessive customer service culture? Is the customer experience your company delivers the same regardless of who on your team a client interacts with? There is one simple way to find out: call your company and ask whoever answers the phone if they can tell you what the weather is in a completely different city.


The weather report challenge shows if you have a strong service culture

I was working with a consulting client on the West Coast who has a large customer service team working in their call center answering their customer’s calls. We were doing their Customer Experience Cycle workshop, and I referenced companies with strong cultures like American Express and Zappos as excellent brands who have created thousands of loyal customers. As we were talking about how well-trained Zappos employees are at consistently making customers happy, I decided to do something I have never done before in a presentation, and I took a huge risk. Right there, on the spot, in front of the entire audience, I called Zappos, which is in Las Vegas.

I plugged the speaker cord into my phone audio port for everyone to hear the conversation. I received this very warm greeting: “Thank you for calling Zappos. This is Damon, how may I help you?” So I said, “Hi, Damon, I am leaving for San Francisco and I was wondering if you could tell me what the weather is there right now, so I know how to pack.” Without any hesitation, Damon responded, “Let me look up the forecast for you. You know it is always cool there.” You should have seen the total disbelief on my audience’s faces! Damon even made small talk while he was pulling up the weather, so there wasn’t that awkward silence. He shared with me (and the group) the five-day forecast for San Francisco. In addition, he even recommended how I should pack. I thanked him, and he of course ended the call with, “My pleasure. Is there anything else I can do for you?” The group was blown away at the strong service culture the Zappos employee displayed.

Listen to the entire Zappos call. You will not believe it.

It is not the employee; it is the customer service training or lack of

I cannot stress enough that the level of customer service your employees perform is based on the service aptitude of every single employee. It is the culture they have been hired into. It is the training they get from the interview process, through orientation, to everyday internal marketing that teaches them that no request is too ridiculous. It is the burden of the superior-service culture placed upon their shoulders that is reinforced every day. The Ritz-Carlton has employees who are providing an amazing experience today because of the abundance of customer service training they have received. A year earlier, that same employee may have been delivering a significantly lower level of customer service for their previous employer who had a poor customer service culture.


Two can play that game

Since I use the Zappos call in many of my customer experience consulting workshops, one of our clients decided to be a secret shopper by calling one of the businesses I own, John Robert’s Spa, and see how they would handle a similar request. She also recorded it. When she was trying to book a haircut for a certain night, she asked the John Robert’s Spa rep if she knew if the Cleveland Indians were playing that night because she had season tickets. Listen to what happened:

How would your staff handle the weather challenge?

I highly recommend the weather challenge approach. Have someone call your business and ask something simple, like “what is the weather” or anything that they could pull up within seconds online. Your goal is to have such a strong customer service culture that is so accommodating, that no request is outside of their job description, anything to delight the client. Record it and share it with them. It is a great test to check the Service Aptitude of your team.


*Related – What separates the best customer service organizations from the rest


CSR Ep039 FB Feature, The DiJulius GroupEpisode 39 of The Customer Service Revolution Podcast – The importance of creating a day in the life of your customer & customer avatars

Chief Revolution Officer John DiJulius of the DiJulius Group talks with Jess Pischel, Customer Experience Consultant for The DiJulius Group and Dean of the Customer eXperience Executive Academy. John and Jess talk about how one of the best ways to increase your employees’ service aptitude and empathy for their customers is by creating a day in the life of your customer story and customer avatars.

You will learn:

  • There is a more dangerous pandemic happening with no vaccine
  • How a year of social isolation has hardened us and made us less engaging
  • Social media is the tobacco company of today
  • As a result of the loneliness pandemic, the Prime Minister of the UK, appointed the world’s first minister for loneliness
  • You can now Rent a Friend & Rent a Family
  • The best brands address our emotional and social needs
  • Why it is so important to create days in the lives of your customer stories
  • How the day in the lives of your customer builds empathy in your customer facing employees
  • How the day in the life increases the service aptitude of your customer facing employees
  • How this can make your employees more present with each and every interaction rather than treating customers as “next”
  • How to create a day in the life of a customer video
  • The importance of creating customer avatars
  • How to create customer avatars

How Much Better Would Your Customer Experience Be if You Charged A Relationship Tax?

Customer Service Quote of The Week

“You can raise the level of your customer service substantially with the employees you already have.”


Tickets go on sale this Saturday May 1st at 9 am EST for the Customer Service Revolution

The 2021 Customer Service Revolution conference is IN-PERSON October 5-6 in Cleveland. Tickets are limited.

Image3, The DiJulius GroupWe are offering both an in person and virtual options for the two day 2021 Customer Service Revolution. For the ultimate experience and peace of mind of our in-person attendees, we will take every safety precaution. As a result, we will be limiting the number of in-person tickets that we can sell. Our virtual tickets will also provide access to every speaker that the in-person event will. All in-person ticket sales will be fully refundable.

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.