S4e3 The Owning The Experience Edition with Joseph Michelli

S4e3 The Owning The Experience Edition with Joseph Michelli

James chats with Joseph Michelli, a certified customer experience professional and the author of 10 business books about companies like the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, Mercedes Benz, Starbucks, Zappos, and Airbnb.


In addition to being a Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author, he helps leaders and frontline team members improve the experiences they provide to colleagues and customers. He’s also an internationally sought after keynote speaker on leadership and human experience design.

They chat about throwing fish, drinking beer from a bottle, designing signature experience moments, changing business culture and building loyalty.


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James Nathan  0:07  Hello, and welcome to the only one business show with me your host James  Nathan and I have a thrilling guest today I think you’re really going to enjoy hearing from. This gentleman is a certified customer experience professional and the author of 10 business books about companies like the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, Mercedes Benz, Starbucks, Zappos, Zappos, depending on which part of the world you come from, and Airbnb, in addition to being a Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author, he helps leaders and frontline team members improve the experiences they provide to colleagues and customers. He’s also an internationally sought after keynote speaker on leadership and human experience design. Please welcome Joseph Michelli.


Joseph, how are you? 


Joseph Michelli  1:39   Saying this is gonna be thrilling put a lot of pressure on me from the beginning, I’ll tell ya. 


James Nathan  1:44  Well, I’m thrilled. I hope everybody else is and when we were talking just before we came on air, your business’s Michelli Experience. Mine’s James Nathan Experience, we both have a love of Jimi Hendrix. So which way…. how can it go wrong? 


Joseph Michelli  1:56  Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think he took his name after us just for the record. 


James Nathan  2:01  Well, you know, he and I were alive for about, I don’t know, six months. I don’t know how old you are? 


Joseph Michelli  2:07  I was a few months older than that. I hadn’t really thought of my brand name yet. So I think….


James Nathan  2:14  At the time, at the time, but when it happens, it happens beautifully. So it’s….. so great minds. That’s all I can say. I don’t know anybody else who uses that as their….apart from Hendrix experience, the new company that they set up? How did you get into all these amazing companies and writing books about them? What led you to that part of your life? 


Joseph Michelli  2:34  I think it’s like almost everyone else, it’s a, it’s a planned opportunity. That really turns out to be luck, right? At some fundamental level I was doing, I was in graduate school to be an organisational psychologist, I got a call from a professor to say, can you help a little floundering fish market in Seattle? And I went up there. And really, the reality was, they had no money. So they weren’t looking for a graduate student to do the job. And I went up there and worked for Fish. And it became the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, which is a tiny little fish market, in Elliott Bay. And it’s a place where they throw fish and chant, not unlike, you know, maybe spots in Italy, but really, truly a very exciting place to go to buy fish in Seattle. And lots of tourists flock there as a destination spot. And there were videos made about it and books written about it. And so from that early experience, kind of happenstance being there. It really opened up doors for me to then work for another little place just down the street called Starbucks, literally about a block away, where they threw cups, by the way. And lo and behold, from working with Howard Schultz, everything else kind of just rolled out. 


James Nathan  3:46  Well, you started off at somewhere pretty special, because my first experience of the fish market was reading the book Fish, and then reading the background to it and thinking, oh wow, that looks fantastic, you know, lots of reasons to want to go to Seattle. And now I’ve got one more. 


Joseph Michelli  4:00  Right and Ken Blanchard and his team are the ones who wrote the book Fish, it was predicated on a videographer who had gone to the area to actually interview someone in Whidbey Island just off of Seattle and, and he had the experience, it’s a fish market that we’d created. And he, he was so enchanted by it, he did a video about them instead of the one he was intending to do. And that video really paved the way for Ken Blanchard and his team to come and tell that parable story. So it was yeah, it was a very much a blessing that all of that happened. But I think the, the source material was in a book written by the founder and  co-written by me, called When Fish Fly and it was really how Johnny transformed that fish market into the destination it is today. 


James Nathan  4:43  An incredible international thing where someone sits you know so far away, knows all about it and has never even been to the city it’s quite extraordinary. And what is it about building the experience of people that you love? 


Joseph Michelli  4:54  Well, you know, let’s let’s be honest, there’s products are getting more and more alike around the globe today, you can only compete so much on margin. If you’re going to differentiate yourself, you better envelop your product in an experience. And that doesn’t necessarily need to be costly. It just needs to be thoughtful, you need to think about what are the smells and sights and sounds? And what’s the customer thinking? And how can we envelop them into something that pulls them in and makes them want to tell the story about it really makes it memorable to them. And they want to tweet about it, they want to share it in their social and I think brands that, that realise the product is just the table stakes, and that you have to find a way to build an experience around it that people want to share those brands that are winning in the marketplace today, and particularly if you can do so in a cost effective way. 


James Nathan  5:46  But I mean, when you say that, it feels obvious, doesn’t it? We hear so many people talk about being so customer centric, you know, we’re all about our customer. Well, of course you are otherwise you haven’t got a business. But why don’t…. I say of course you are. So many don’t do it very well. Why do they get it so wrong? 


Joseph Michelli  6:04  Well, I think there’s there’s a couple of levels. First off, many companies aren’t even providing service, right? They, they don’t have enough people right now in a post pandemic world to even deliver service. So that’s table stakes, you better get that going you better make sure that you can consistently deliver your product to market. Okay, but consistently getting it to market and making it right and doing it right isn’t enough to differentiate you in a brand sense. So you need an answer thinking about the full human being that you’re serving, and what are their wants, needs desires, stated and unstated, emotional and practical. And the more you get into that mind space, the more powerful and more exciting it is to work, I really, I can hand you a cup of coffee, or I could deliver a cup of coffee. I could create an experience around it, I could hand it to you with such excitement, enthusiasm and respect that it speaks volumes about how much I value this coffee and how much you should too. 


And I think it’s that mind space of what can I do to make your moment with me special, and we just get moments with brands. And so why not really celebrate those moments and heighten those moments for memorableness. 


James Nathan  6:39  And when you talk about Starbucks, and Starbucks is a bit of… well, in fact, if I read through that list of companies, again, Ritz Carlton and Mercedes Benz, Starbucks, Zappos, Airbnb, we could add on and on and on to it can’t we of  the businesses which sort of stand ahead, and they become a bit of a cliche at times as well don’t know these guys, especially Zappos, I mean, I don’t think there’s a customer experience person who doesn’t talk about them at some point. 


Joseph Michelli  7:40  Yeah, it’s kinda sad, you know, I actually worked with a lot of these companies. And then I see lots of speakers out in the universe, who, who really only read about him, and they’re on the stage document. I call it the kind of Harvard Business Review syndrome where somebody reads in the Harvard Business Review article, and then they share some of the key points and they’re the expert.


Reality I worked with Tony Hsieh who got bested the soul died in a tragic way. He’s not only the foreword to the book about Zappos that I wrote, but also was in another book right before he died. He was just a genius at saying, Look, we’re everybody at that time. And you have to put everything in time, context, Starbucks and time context versus the Starbucks of today. But at the time, where they really differentiated themselves, Zappos said, everybody’s buying things online at a discount. Online was a discount channel. And so how can we go premium online, when we don’t have really much of a relationship with people other than a transaction? How can we build an experience and they created a whole lore around what would happen if you call their contact centre, which they call the customer loyalty team. And that lore was these people would stay on the line with you for as long as you wanted, they talk about anything, they’d give you recommendations on where to eat in your city. And that perspective was very different. They also were among the first to say we’re going to…. we’re not going to charge you to return your items to us, right, and we’ll give you 365 days to return them. And just very odd sorts of enrichments that gave people trust that okay, I’m gonna pay full price, but I’m gonna be taken care of, this brand is gonna stand behind me. 


James Nathan  9:13  It’s one of my favourite books Delivering Happiness. I think everyone in the world should read that book, whether they’re interested in the service industry or not.


Joseph Michelli  9:20  It’s a fun read isn’t I mean, there’s a whole thing about what it means to be a serial entrepreneur, what it means to learn from a poker table, the rules of business. I mean, it’s…. 


James Nathan  9:25  It has it all really and it’s a very, very good thing. And, and you can’t I mean, I, again, you know, my my experience of Zappos is that book, I’ve never bought from them. I’m only aware of them through and your right speakers talk about these guys all the time without any experience of being involved with them. But you look at everything I get it. I get how Zappos does that. Starbucks is a whole different world, though, because Starbucks has grown at scale, like almost no one else? How have they maintained the business culture, the business feel, growing it so exponentially? You know, extraordinarily. So my question really, when you following on from what you’ve just said there and talking around Zappos and, and these other businesses. Starbucks is quite an exceptional business in many ways, but it’s also grown enormously. So when we talk about the scale of businesses or businesses that grow at scale, like Starbucks, how do they maintain the feel? How do they maintain the culture, the experience that I guess you would have gotten those original few shops when it really was the you know, the other place? How have they maintained that? 


Joseph Michelli  10:40  I don’t know that you can. And to be quite honest, I think Starbucks is really struggling right now, in trying to identify, are they a heritage brand to that? Are they evolving in a technology brand with a different kind of experience? Certainly, they’re having their challenges in the United States around employment. And are they still the same employer brand that they were known for? You know, in the founding days, they were the first in the US to guarantee health insurance for part time employees and they gave college education opportunities to their baristas. Now, there’s a great unionisation efforts in the United States. You know, I think the answer is you try to maintain as much of your cultural experience and this much of the things that got you success in terms of the intimacy of the coffee house experience. You try to do that by making each location, its own entity that is connected in spirit to the macro brand. But the, you know, that puts the store manager as the keeper of the culture and the keeper of the experience, and you try to yoke all those store managers together as best you can. 


James Nathan  11:43  Yeah, it’s… I find it absolutely fascinating when you look at things and you look at where these businesses develop to, I mean, from that list, again, you know, Ritz Carlton has changed quite a lot over the last while, in terms of how it sets itself. Mercedes obviously have to look at the future. And car manufacturers have been doing that forever in a day, but where they go to next. Zappos, obviously, part of Amazon. Airbnb is a new concept in real terms in terms of hospitality. But how does somebody like Starbucks adjust? Because as far as I can see, as a consumer, there’s no change? It’s the same thing over and over again, it’s not developing, what happens to it? 


Joseph Michelli  12:24  Yeah, I think I think here’s where the development has happened over time, it has been in the use of technology to pay and then in the use of technology to order and the Store of the Future may very well be to have a pickup only store, they still want to try to have a human powered, technology aided experience. So in the end, you may be able to order and purchase and all of that from a distance and still have a friendly barista hand the cup to you. Who knows, we may get to a point where the human is irrelevant to the coffeehouse experience, it becomes completely transactional and the robot swings the drink to you. But I think they’re trying to figure out how to maximise convenience and still layer on some level of humanity to the brand. So we’ll see where all of that goes. I think you know that for me a quick example, I was sitting in a boardroom with the Ritz Carlton CEO, we were talking about whether or not we could serve beer in a bottle at a Ritz Carlton, it always had to be poured into a glass because it was a refined experience. And I was sitting in there and it’s the same year that the folks over at Airbnb were deciding if they were going to just put Pop Tarts in as part of the bed and breakfast experience in their condo in San Francisco. And so it really I think it’s come full circle right? Some people don’t want to elevated hospitality experience they want as unique and funky and experience as you can have. And Airbnb has kind of enabled that platform of interface. So it’s always dynamic. And I think you have to know who you are and define the experience, you’re best equipped to deliver and adjust on the margins based on consumer trends. And that’s pretty much the way brands survive, I think today and continue to customise the experience.


James Nathan  14:10  That bottle thing… you know, I never thought about that. But I worked for Hilton for years as a student, I worked in a cocktail bar and you just reminded me we weren’t allowed to pour…. we had to pour into glass it couldn’t hand it across the thing, but also people couldn’t wear jeans in our bar. And that’s how far the world’s come was. I remember thinking well these jeans this guy’s wearing a worth more than my suit. You know, maybe we should start to think about that a little bit. 


Joseph Michelli  14:36  The CEO of of Ritz Carlton at the time Simon Cooper would get angry letters from older guests who said how dare you defile the brand by allowing barbarians to drink beer out of a bottle.


James Nathan  14:51  What a world we live in where that nastiness happens. 


Joseph Michelli  14:55  You know they’re probably tech billionaires that could have bought out the old guy but I said to say thats the way the letters came in.


James Nathan  15:01  But when you stay in somewhere like Ritz Carlton…. I used to always say that, you know, Asians do the best hotels and, you know, when you stay in places like Shangri La, and what have you, you know, it’s… they’re clearly extraordinary. And then you step into a Ritz Carlton and it’s exactly the same. You know, you feel very, very special from the moment you walk through the door. And that experience is wonderful. I know, you know, we all tell stories in our lives, we tell stories, but when we’re on stage, we tell stories of experience. And, you know, some of my favourite stories, are the little tiny things that happen in those sort of places that, you know, we’re we have hugely empowered staff to make your life really great. But let’s jump away from these big brands, because they are phenomenal. We can learn a lot from them by studying them, but who’s small and doing great things right now? 


Joseph Michelli  15:53  Well, the problem is, whenever I say a small one, you’re not going to know it. Because there you know, that’s the nature of it. I have a chain here of barbecue restaurants in the southern part of the United States called Sonny’s BBQ Restaurants. Not a brand anyone is going to know outside of the South. And clearly, they are extraordinary at understanding, listening, calling customers on their loyalty programme and simply saying, Hey, I just want to thank you for being a loyalty customer with us. We don’t want anything else from you. We’re not asking for anything. We just want to let you know, you matter. I was on one of those calls where a guy just basically said to me, I’m not sure why you’re calling me. I’m a nobody. And you know, I said no, you’re a loyalty customer of Sonny’s that’s important to us. And we appreciate that and he started crying. I mean, it’s really, you know, I think it’s that nobody feeling that a lot of folks have I think brands… if you can make the person in front of you, somebody, whether you’re Ritz Carlton at the extreme, or a small little restaurant. Danny Meyer, who wrote a book, you know, just years ago, that was just extraordinary about service. And then he runs Shake Shack and a variety of others. But he basically says we’re all wearing invisible signs, and the job of a service professionals to read that sign. Sometimes it’s leave me alone, I’m in a conversation with someone. Sometimes it’s make me feel important and special, I’m feeling alone or wounded or whatever. I think that is the art is to try to connect with what that person’s need state is emotionally, you can deliver a service experience that’s congruent with that need. 


James Nathan  17:27  So how do you do it? When you setting up your business? You’re thinking about what you’re going to do? You think, right? I really want to be, I want to be the Cheers, right? I want everyone to know, I want to know everyone’s name. I want them all to be comfortable walking through the door. How do I get to that? How do I design that experience from, from the ground up? 


Joseph Michelli  17:44  Well, first off, I kind of have to acknowledge that that’s a really important part of the experience the welcome, the belonging, experience, right, creating belonging upon arrival, whether it’s on website or wherever, into your physical store. So you have to own that touch point. And you have to say, we’re going to own it, we’re going to make a great arrival experience. Here in the United States, we have a place called Waffle House, right? Where people come in, they always kind of shout out your name. You know, they say good to see you. The Chef’s behind…. everybody is in queue that their job is to do that. Turns out it not only has benefits in helping people feel welcome, it decreases the amount of times that people rob them. That kind of disarms and creates a personal arrival experience, I think you need to own that. You need to own certain other touch points, you need to own the departure. If you identify a couple of three or four places during the customer journey, you’re just going to execute, and you’re going to do a differentiated experience. And you got to design it, what does that look like? So for a little, little brand that I worked with here, called Garbanzos Mediterranean Grill, we just handed people a falafel when they walked in the door, very disruptive. Here’s a falafel.


James Nathan  18:49  What in their hand?


Joseph Michelli  18:51  Here you go, right. And I think you just have to figure out what your signature moment is in the arrival, whether it’s handed falafel or shout out welcome from the, you know, the back of the house at a Waffle House, but owning it. And it’s teaching your people that that’s really, really important, that people want to know they belong when they arrive on your doorstep. And then from there, I mean, I think you have to hire people who are willing to do it and who have the capacity to do it and see the value in doing it. So you have to select people who are capable of delivering great welcomes and fond farewells. 


James Nathan  19:24  And that’s it’s easy to kind of, envisage how that might work in service, in hospitality or you know, or retail. But what about the kind of business to business environment how do we do it there because that’s slightly different, isn’t it? 


Joseph Michelli  19:38  Oh, it is absolutely different. But it we make it much more different than it is I mean, B2B buyers are human beings who have B2C experiences. And so you just have to replicate that to the highest degree possible you know, when I, when someone is a prospect for me there may be wanting to consider me for consulting or they consider me for speaking, you know, I am working to understand who they are before they arrive. My background on my Zoom screen, if we’re doing it virtually, is going to have their logo, welcoming them along with my logo beneath theirs, right. And the again, the message is welcome. It’s a neon sign, like you might see coming into an office building. You know, this is a VIP who’s arriving today. And we want to honour them and spotlight them and show that we plan for their arrival. And when they show up, the first look into their eyes is going to be with excitement and with a smile. And with a oh my gosh, it’s so great to have you here. And if you don’t authentically feel it, you can’t fake it, but you should authentically feel it because frankly, this is the most important guests you’re going to have in your business in that moment. And you better dedicate yourself to that reality. And you’d want to be greeted similarly. So why not give that unto them? And so I think it really is the same. It’s just executed slightly differently, because it’s a business relationship.


James Nathan  21:02  Yeah, I mean, we spend our lives, don’t we, telling people that, you know, people are people and people buy from people and all the rest of all the cliched lines. But the fact is, it’s true. You know, when you were talking there, I’ve had a memory of when I worked at the Hilton, I used to love when when the guys were used to, you know, a car would pull up, and they’d pop the boot and grab their cases and look at the luggage tag to find a name. And so they could welcome the person by name through, you know, as they let them out of the cab into the, into the hotel, And Ritz Carlton of take that to another extreme where you’ve got guys on headsets, you know, say hello to you or your way through reception. But I had an experience not so long ago with one of the big law firms in London and walking into reception. And then the lady coming out from behind the counter, which I really loved. And saying Hi, James, you must be James. You know, thanks so much for coming. Take a seat so and so we’ll be with you shortly. Have you got a laptop or a phone you’d like me to charge while you’re waiting?


Joseph Michelli  21:58  Did you prevail in the lawsuit? That’s what I really want to know.


James Nathan  22:01  I was trying to get some business from them…


Joseph Michelli  22:03  I wanted scandal there. You’re point’s taken, it’s the same application. It’s just done differently, right, with a little more gravitas and maybe a slight more formality. And but it’s all the same? I mean, it just feels good when people acknowledge you like you’re somebody and why not? They are?


James Nathan  22:28  And how do leaders help change it? So you’ve got a business now say and you think, right? Well, actually, you know, we’re just not there. We’ve got great people working for us. We need to help them learn what to do. But also we need to change the culture of this business and make it far far more focused. How do you start to change businesses?


Joseph Michelli  22:50  Well, going back to the Pike Place Fish Market, Johnnie Yokoyama says a fish smells from the head. And what he meant was it he had it fixed himself. First, he needed to needed to celebrate the arrival of every fishmonger in the morning when they showed up at like, oh, dark 40, to put up the fish show. So literally, he needed to be more enthusiastic, excited about their arrival, to welcome them, to deliver that to them. And then once he demonstrates it in real time, he needs to start talking to them about how are you doing this with our customers, you got to get the team itself to coach each other to deliver a greater experience. So there’s a kind of a culture of accountability that we’re going to welcome people. And if I see you not welcoming somebody, I need to be willing to coach you and say, What else might you have done to create a greater arrival experience for that person? You know, where did you think you’ve missed it? And I think that that’s a challenge to change a culture like that. But it starts with you. And it starts with getting people to be it, to commit it and coach it.


James Nathan  23:51  And you talked, you’ve talked a lot about the arrival and departure. But what about delivery?


Joseph Michelli  23:56  Oh, it’s you know, there are moments that matter more than the delivery over in particularly, some products take long periods of time have long relationship, you’re building a house for somebody. And so there are moments that matter a lot, and particularly transition moments, or moments where you know, people are gonna experience a bunch of pain. And there are moments that are really fabulously exciting and a journey and you need to put a bow on those and celebrate them and amp up the energy. So I’m always a fan of saying where are we going from one state of being to another? And how do we help somebody get through that smoothly? Where are their pain points? Maybe where you know, it’s an uncomfortable or unpleasant part of the journey, and how can we soften them so we can’t remove all pain from the customer journey. It’s sometimes it’s a necessary function of payment, for example, pain to it, but we can make that a little less onerous. If we have the right technologies. I don’t have to wait in line. Yeah, so that’s pretty much the messaging I have there. As you kind of just look for the moments and elevate the ones you can mitigate the pain points and make those transitions smooth.


James Nathan  24:58  Fantastic and you mentioned that the payment bit but you know, the job’s not done till the money’s in the bank. And, and we all know that it’s just, it’s interesting when you say making it easy to pay, because some businesses really don’t. And still don’t, you know, I’m amazed when I, when I’m in the high street and i’m asked cash. I mean, I haven’t had cash in my pocket since COVID. Because no one wanted any and have not needed it since. But still you do come across these little barriers, and you think, come on, that’s…. you’ve lost a customer there, because I don’t have cash in my pocket today. For it, you know, for the sake of a little card reader, which has next to no cost now.


Joseph Michelli  25:35  Yeah, and I think, you know, you got to just think through those, what are the options we need to have available to people because some people still don’t have technology as hard as that’s to believe and you need to be available to do some of that as well.


James Nathan  25:46  I mean, my thinking with all of that is it’s it’s, it’s almost the other way around, isn’t it? It’s kind of like being able to accept what people would use if they didn’t have technology, because the technological side should be a given.


Joseph Michelli  25:59  Yeah, that’s the default, I think, is the technological solution. And then having people opt in to, you know, people are, you know, cash money, for example.


James Nathan  26:08  And so all these things, we talked about drive loyalty, don’t know, they drive people to, to love us to want to work with us to want to refer us, but how do we encourage that loyalty? What can businesses do to encourage people to keep coming back?


Joseph Michelli  26:21  Well, first off, if you identify somebody as loyal, you got to activate them, so that they are reminded of the importance of their business to you, and or their referrals to you. So, you know, if I am measuring Net Promoter Score, or some other metric of engagement levels between myself and my customer, and identify somebody as a promoter, and they’re loyal, then I really want to thank them. Because they’re the kind of people that really matter to me, I might give them some incentives, though, I’m really soft on that. Because if you get too incentivising, then people stop loving you for you know, for who you are, and start loving, or what you can, you know, discount them around. But I do think, you know, it’s important to say we are a referral based business, I do appreciate the fact that you are with us, and that you found what we do significant, I’d hope you’d avail that to other people that you love and care about. So they can have similar experiences. And for that, I’ll assure you that we will not compromise our quality, or your your access to our great services if you just open the door a little wider for others.


James Nathan  27:20  And on top of that, you see the business doing kind of… not giving the big discount, but little thank you treats like paying for a meal for you in a restaurant, I can’t remember who was talking to him recently was talking about a place that they love to go to. And every Christmas, they got a free meal, because that’s what they did for the loyal customers, but you didn’t know when it was coming, they would just give that to you. Does that sort of stuff work?


Joseph Michelli  27:44  The surprise and delight elements are critical because if you don’t, if you build it into like a tiered programme, which like airlines do, then people are just playing the game right there. They’re not really loyal, they’re just trying to earn the next level of reward. So I think surprise and delight is a powerful. Intermittent reinforcement schedules of delight that you drop in when people aren’t expecting it are strong reinforcers of human behaviour. So it also reduces the likelihood they’re gonna view it as an entitlement. And it just kind of marvel that it happened because I wasn’t expecting it. Anytime we exceed expectations, we have the opportunity to delight people.


James Nathan  28:20  And that’s just a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Who’s doing it? Who’s doing that well?


Joseph Michelli  28:24  Well, I think, you know, Panera here in the United States was doing quite well. Their loyalty programme, you didn’t know when you were gonna get a free dessert. You just knew, you just kept coming back and good things happen to you. Ritz Carlton does a really nice job of it, you don’t know the threshold by which you’re going to get that bottle of champagne or the chocolate covered cherries, or chocolate covered strawberries. It’s it’s something that happens based on your magnitude of spend, but it’s invisible to you in terms of a gamification kind of way.


James Nathan  28:54  Yeah, that’s quite interesting, isn’t it? Because if you were what you said there before if you know it’s coming your work your way toward it, and it’s not really well, it’s no longer a delight is it?


Joseph Michelli  29:05  There certainly isn’t. I don’t think anyway


James Nathan  29:08  Where does the the automotive industry go? Because I’m looking at your list again and thinking Mercedes Benz fascinating business. I’ve just bought a car. I’ve bought my very first American car. It’s electric. So you can probably guess what it is…. Where the people like Mercedes Benz go in terms of because they’ve always had that very premium feel. How do they work?


Joseph Michelli  29:31  Yeah, well, they didn’t have a premium in you know, in store experience, either on the sales side or on the service side. So where they went was let’s redesign the experience to not let our vehicle down. And I think they did a much better job and you know, they were 22nd on the JD Power customer satisfaction inventory, which is one of our benchmarks for how your experience was they moved up to one or two head to head against BMW or you know, have, at the time, I think it was a Lexus that really had a prime position. So, you know, I was part of a five or six year journey that we had to come from 22nd to be in the top rank of that. And it was just applying the great engineering technologies, but applying them to human engineering of experience, not mechanical engineer. 


James Nathan Fantastic. And so. Before we go. Cause I’m conscious that we , I could probably keep asking questions all day, cuz there’s some fascinating stuff to chat about. But in terms of the people listening today, what gem can you give them Joseph? What, what golden nugget of your experience? What thing can they do in their business today to make their business better for today and better for the years to come? What would that. 


Joseph Michelli Super simple. I have a concept called, the way we serve statement. And essentially as a leader of a business, you should say, this is what we want. Every single human being who interacts with us to feel every single time they interact with us, no excuses. And if you define that, you really get a big advantage because at the Ritz Carlton, you wanna feel like the home of a loving parent, a nurturing experience. At another brand it be might, it might be, you know, just this. Sense of belonging. That’s what Airbnb’s all about creating a, a world where anyone can belong anywhere. And so just getting to that clarity and then making sure your people understand it and making sure that if you ask everyone on your team, what do we want people to feel every single time they get here?


They’re all aligned. And if they know that then as human beings, we can improvise to try to make that the outcome of an interaction. Everybody comes in differently, strange raw material. We, human beings are but we in the manufacturing plant of service can try to come up with a consistent outcome 0.001. oF people feeling the way that we want them to feel. It’s our opportunity for consistent delivery of design experiences. 


James Nathan Fantastic. Joseph, thank you so much. That’s fabulous. And thanks so much for your time today. It’s been great chatting with you. 


Joseph Michelli Lovely to be with you, James. Thanks. 



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