Ron Kaufman: “Uplifting Service” | Talks at Google

Ron Kaufman: “Uplifting Service” | Talks at Google


>>Female Presenter: Good afternoon, everyone.
Thank you all for joining us for today’s Authors at Google talk. It is my pleasure to introduce
you to our speaker today. I think you guys already know him, now, Mr. Ron Kaufman. Ron
is the world’s leading educator and motivator for uplifting customer service and uplifting
service cultures. He is author of the book Uplifting Service and 14 other books on service,
business, and inspiration. Ron is rated one of the world’s top 25 hot speakers by Speaker
Magazine for his high energy and high content presentations. He has been featured in the
New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and on TV. Please join me in welcoming
Mr. Ron Kaufman. [cheers] [applause]>>Ron Kaufman Thank you very much. Great to
be here at Google. Thank you so much for this hour of your time. I want to jump right in.
The book that you got a copy of is called Uplifting Service. While I’m based in Singapore,
the reason my wife and I are in New York is because on this Sunday, you’ll see it published
in the New York Times Bestseller List. The book expo’s here in New York, so we hit. That’s
a three year project that’s finally come to fruition.
This is all I do. I travel around the world with my wife, doing uplifting service, coaching,
consulting, training, working with some of the largest companies in the world. That is
a picture of my passport. [light laughter] Yeah, holy moly, right? It’s actually at the
point now where immigration officers look at it and look back up and look down. The
reason is that I’m one of these people who, from a very early age, was driven out there
in the world to do things with other people. This is a picture of the Brown University
ultimate Frisbee team. I show you this picture because it demonstrates that at one point,
I did have hair. [laughter] But it also points to two other very interesting people who were
on the team. For example, I became a domain expert in service leadership and in building
service cultures, but this fellow right here in the front row, does anybody recognize him?
His name is James Garvin. He’s chief scientist for NASA exploration. When the Mars things
went up, this is Jim. More interesting. Who is this guy? That gentlemen
on the Brown University ultimate Frisbee team is Peter Norvig, who was the Google Director
of Search Quality and now is your Director of Search. Join me in giving ultimate Frisbee
a big clap for the impact that we’ve had in the world. [applause]
This person is the one who really has a big impact on my life. It’s my wife. Her name
is Jan. She and I scuba together, we travel together, we get the pleasure of working in
different places like the World Bank together. She’s sitting right here in the back of the
room. Would you join me in giving her a big clap, because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t
for her. [applause] All right. This is actually the mission that
I’m on. People say, “Ron is a man on a mission.” It’s true. I am committed to uplifting the
quality and the spirit and the practice of service all over the world. I think one of
the problems that we have today is it’s not being taught. If you think about the education
you got, if you’re in this room, you’re a well-educated person. You learned whatever
you learned, but I’ll bet none of you actually ever took a class on the fundamental principles
of service, or how to develop a strong service culture, or how to differentiate an organization
based on quality of service. That’s what it is that we’re really bringing around the world.
I was fortunate because I studied with this gentlemen for 7 years after college. His name
is Fernando Flores. He’s an expert in something called ontological design. Two of his protégés,
Chauncey Bell and Chris Davis, I attribute to them me becoming a different kind of observer
in the world. What is ontological design? Fundamentally,
what are the fundamental linguistic distinctions and the standard practices that enable competent
action in some domain? I can’t talk like that with most people in business, but here at
Google, I think I can. When I look at something, like, “How does service work?” or “How do
you optimize search?” or whatever it is, if you know what the fundamental distinctions
are, and the standard practices, and you know the strategies of those that do it well, then
potentially, it could become replicated. That underpinning has caused me to look at the
real leaders in service: Singapore Airlines, Ritz Carlton hotels, Zappos, Apple Computer.
What are they doing? But not anecdotally, like, “They have a genius bar and a beautiful
building that was designed by Steve Jobs.” Not like that. But fundamentally engineering
wise, how are they building out that kind of a culture. That’s what I’ve written about
in the book, and I’m going to give you a brief presentation of it today.
I’ve been living in Singapore for more than two decades. I moved there because this whole
country was wrestling with the issue of how to develop a service culture, and they had
to, for economic necessity. Back in 1980s and 1990s, all the manufacturing left and
went to China. All the back office processing went to the low-cost locations like India
and the Philippines, and now even moving to Bangladesh. So Singapore had to reinvent itself
to still create value in the world. And they succeeded.
They already had one particular iconic example. Has anybody here ever flown on this airline?
Okay, did you have a good experience?>>female #1: Yes.>>Kaufman: I mean to the point where people
are willing to pay more, a higher premium, to fly on exactly the same route at just about
the same time. The aircraft itself will fly at a higher yield, that means there’s more
people on board, than the other carriers, which is why Singapore Airlines today has
$6 billion in cash reserves in an industry where airlines go out of business on a regular
basis. It’s not because they have better aircraft. That airbus can be purchased by Emirates and
Cathay Pacific and British Airways. It’s not because they use better airports or better
travel agents, or even a better website. It’s because they differentiated based on the quality
of their–>>female#2: Service.>>Kaufman: Service, right. They’ve even created
an icon for it. They call it the Singapore girl. I’ve been working with them for 20 years,
so I know what it is that they’ve done. I’ve seen underneath the covers what’s the architecture
that they’re using to engineer that in a sustainable way over time.
This is a shot of Changi International Airport, which is Singapore’s airport and Singapore
Airlines’ home base. This is an interesting cultural situation, where you need service
to be delivered from top to bottom, end to end, and across many different organizations,
because 40 million people go through the airport. Now, you go through airports. Let’s say you’re
at an airport somewhere and you’re lost, you have a question, you need something. Who will
you ask for help? Ready? Turn to the person next to you, answer that question. You’re
in an airport, you’re lost, ‘where’s the gate, where’s the post office’? Who will you ask?
Talk to the person next to you. Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: All right, yell it out for me.
Who will you ask? Who will you ask?>>male #1: The first person I see in any kind
of uniform.>>Kaufman: The first person you see in any
kind of uniform. You don’t care if it’s the police and you’re asking for the post office.
You don’t care if you’re at the post office and you’re asking where’s the gate. So they
needed to create a culture where every single one of the 28,000 people that work there would
take responsibility for the quality of the customer experience. They’ve done that very
successfully. They’ve got a phrase, ‘many partners, many missions, but there’s only
one Changi’. Now, I’ve been working with them for a really
long time, and I know how they do it. They’ve solved this problem, which many large organizations
have, of what I call a confused culture. We recruit this kind of person, but we give bonuses
for this kind of a thing. The marketing promise is like that, but the actual customer service
experience is like this. That’s confusing for people who work in a large organization.
All Singapore Airlines has done, all the Ritz Carlton has done, all Zappos has done, is
they’ve lined it up. They’ve taken away the confusion, and they’ve done the same things
that other organizations are doing, but in sync with one another to create a certain
impact. I’m going to show you the architecture of how that works.
Let’s start by asking you to talk to the person next to you. Should be a very simple question.
Google was actually– It’s a service business. You’re providing things for people, right?
You’re giving them answers, giving them ad space. You’re giving them what they need.
So what is the definition of service? Please talk to your partner. Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Okay, come on back. Let me ask:
did you and your partner turn to each other and then immediately share exactly the same
words?>>male #2: No.>>Kaufman: No. So if I passed out cards here,
and everybody wrote down their definition. Let’s say there are 60 people in the room.
You handed in the cards. How many definitions would I have?>>male #3: 60.>>Kaufman: 65, right? [laughter] That’s a
problem in the world today. It shows how fundamental the problem is, because even something as
basic as “What is service?” [snaps] we’re not being taught. People are going, “Well,
it’s the customer wants, and what he needs. It’s exceeding and delighting.” That gets
really fuzzy. It doesn’t need to be that way. Here’s a definition that I use, and I introduce
in the book, right at the beginning. Service is taking action. Would you agree? Right.
In order– Service doesn’t sit in a box. Somebody’s got to do something to take action. What’s
the purpose of taking the action?>>male #4: To meet some need.>>Kaufman: To meet some need, to give somebody
what they want, to satisfy, to delight, to create some what?>>Several audience members: Some value.>>Kaufman: Some value. The purpose of the
action has got to be to create some value for someone else, unless it’s self-service.
Let’s just pause for a second. Does this definition adequately describe what you do? You may be
in tech, just keeping other people’s computers running. You may actually be working with
advertisers. You may be working with other websites. You may be working with partners.
You may be working with– Talk to your partner for a second. Does this simple definition
of service, taking action to create value for someone else, does it apply to your job?
Talk to your partner. Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Absolutely. Right? Right. However,
a lot of people come to work, and they say, “No, my job is just doing what’s on this checklist”
or “Leave me alone. I’m just doing my job” rather than understanding that the purpose
of doing the job is to create some–>>male #5: Value.>>Kaufman: –value for somebody else. What
is service excellence? What is a service culture? How are these two things related to each other?
Because they’re not the same. Service excellence is a certain level of performance in value
created. A service culture is something else. Talk to your partner again. What are these
two things, and how are they related to one another? Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Good. Good, good, good. Come on
back, come on back. I’m going to answer these in the next few minutes. Really [pause] dissolve
the confusion that people have. So many people in the world and in business today, they hear
the word service, and they say, “Oh, that’s the soft stuff.” And then they hear the word
culture, and they go, “That’s really airy-fairy.” I’m saying, “No, no, no. Not to Singapore
Airlines, it’s not. Not to Ritz Carlton, it’s not. Not to Apple Computer, it’s not. Not
to Google, it’s not.” You’ve got to really understand what this is and how to build it.
That’s the big question: how do you actually build a culture of uplifting service and make
it stronger and stronger and sustainable over time? That’s what my career has really been
about, is identifying what is the plan, what is the architecture, how do you engineer this
thing so it’s not just up to a charismatic leader? I’m going to go back and use a very
old architecture that’s been influencing human behavior for a long time. The components are
clear: there’s got to be a leadership element, people who are driving an organization in
a certain direction with their personal example and things that they do inside the organization.
There’s an educational component, which is not the same as training. We’ll come to that
in a second. And in the middle is this interesting area called building blocks, that I’ll point
to at the end of this presentation. Okay? Let’s start at the base. What is the difference
between education and training? They’re not the same. Take a moment, talk to your partner.
What’s the difference between education and training? Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Very good. Very good. Training
is what?>>male #6: Stuff that happens>>Kaufman: Yeah, exactly. You can train someone
what to do, and you want them to be well trained in a certain situation where they need to
do the–>>male #6: Right thing.>>Kaufman: Right thing. Right. But education’s
different. Education is teaching people how to think, so they can figure out what to–>>male #6: [inaudible]>>Kaufman: Do. Right. If you have children,
do you just want them to be really well trained? You want them to be educated, right? Customer
service training has a fundamental flaw: it’s good in certain situations where you need
someone to absolutely follow the checklist. But if all we’re providing in the world today
is training about what to do, what happens when the customer shows up with a new situation
you haven’t seen before? It gets escalated up the chain, becomes a bottleneck. That’s
that point I was saying about we need fundamental education for service in the world today.
Now, training is fine sometimes. Yeah. My wife and I have a friend who’s a former US
Marine. He’s been in combat. He said, “When the bullets are flying, you stop thinking.
But your body knows what to do because it’s been–“>>female #3: Trained.>>Kaufman: That’s why they go to boot camp.
When this guy takes a machine up in the air, and he’s got hundreds of passengers in the
back, I don’t want him to do creative thinking. [laughter] Right? Which is why– We put them
in a simulator and we throw tough situations so they will become well–>>male #7: Trained.>>Kaufman: That’s why no one died. Because
when the geese hit the engines, the pilot and the copilot both immediately went to the
checklist and did what they were–>>male #8: Trained.>>Kaufman: Trained and told to do. Their bodies
knew how to do it. If this guy goes in on you, don’t ask him to think out of the box.
[laughter] But in business, we need people who can come up with new ideas. We need people
who can solve problems we’ve never seen before, and innovate to come up with new ways to create
value. We want people who can make a decision on the spot and have it be a good decision
without having to bring it to somebody else. We find that the way that happens is that
when you get a chance to work on this and talk about it with other people. And personally,
I believe it should be uplifting, if the topic is service, because there is a skills set
component, but there’s also a mindset, or an attitudinal component. You agree? You’re
customers, you’re service providers, you get what I’m saying. So let’s do this right now.
Would you turn to your partner and just say, “Thank you for being my partner.” Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Good. Now, would you do this. Please
rub your hands together. [rubbing noise] Rub your hands together, here we go. Clap twice.
[clapping] Hands up. Turn to your partner. Give him a high five. Say, “Thanks for being
my partner.” [clapping] [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Could you feel the difference?
Did it feel better or worse.>>male #9: Better.>>Kaufman: Better, right? It was still a thank
you, but it was done with a different– [snaps]>>male #9: Attitude.>>Kaufman: Yeah. I’m going to demonstrate
for you now a piece of fundamental service education. Six levels of service. We’re going
to start low. The word is–>>female #4: Basic.>>Kaufman: Basic. Definition of the word,
please. Talk to your partner. 10 seconds. Basic means what? [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Go. Basic is the–>>male #10: Minimum.>>Kaufman: –fundamental, the–>>male #10: Minimum.>>Kaufman: Yeah, basic means basic. Thank
you. [laughter] That’s basic. It’s a minimum. But I call it the bare minimum. A good example,
and we experienced it the other day, is a taxi that smells bad, with a driver who’s
in a bad mood, who’s a bad driver. But he gets you where you want to go. Ever happen
to you? That level we’re going to call basic. Here’s how to say it. [low, drawn out voice]
Basic. Stay with me. One, two, three. Go.>>people audience: Basic.>>Kaufman: How do you feel? Bleugh. Okay,
let’s not stay there. Let’s take a step up. One step above basic is expected. It’s normal.
Average. If you tell the driver where you want to go, do you expect that he knows how
to get there?>>audience: Yes.>>Kaufman: Does it always happen?>>audience: No.>>Kaufman: Do you ever get a driver that says,
“Where do you want to go?”, you tell him, and he says, “Where’s that?”>>male #11: Yeah.>>Kaufman: The moment he says, “Where’s that?”
where does your mood go? Up or down?>>audience: Down.>>Kaufman: Drops, because he may go the long
way or the wrong way, or you’ve got to give him directions. Eventually, he gets you where
you want to go, so he does meet the–>>audience: Basic.>>Kaufman: –basic, but it’s not what you–>>audience: Expect.>>Kaufman: Good. What I want you to do is
what this fellow’s already doing. Cross your arms, please. Cross your arms. Take the sound
of your voice, move it up in your nose. It goes like this: [nasally voice] expected.
Here you go. One, two, three. Go.>>audience: Expected.>>Kaufman: Good. Sounds like finance departments.
[laughter] Okay, I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. What is higher than [nasally voice]
expected? Oh, and by the way, what is the traditional definition of customer satisfaction?
Meeting customer–>>audience: Expectations.>>Kaufman: –expectations. Look how low that
is on the scale. So what is one step higher? It’s when you serve someone the way they like
it. They way they hope for it. The way they prefer it. The word I use is called–>>audience: Desire.>>Kaufman: Desire, right? So that’s getting
the clean taxi with the friendly taxi driver with the guy– right? When you get it, you
go, “Ah! That’s what I was hoping for. That’s what I–“>>audience: Desire.>>Kaufman: Desire. Okay, now, here’s how you
say this one. Shoulders, please. Like this– Your shoulder’s broken? Come on. There you
go. Now you add the sound. It goes like this: [starts low, ends high] Desire. Give it a
shot. [laughter] One, two, three. Here we go. Go.>>audience: Desire.>>Kaufman: Come on, Googlers, one more time.
It’s not on lunchtime. One, two, three. Go.>>audience and Kaufman: Desire.>>Kaufman: Good. Tell your partner how well
he did that. Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Now, let’s just see if this is
relevant. Let’s do these three levels together. Down low is–>>audience and Kaufman: [low, drawn out voice]
Basic.>>Kaufman: One level up, cross your arms.>>audience and Kaufman: [nasally voice] Expected.>>Kaufman: Shoulders. [snaps]>>audience: [start low, ends high] Desire.>>Kaufman: What would be an example at Google?
What would be an example of something that you do that someone else would say, “Ah yeah,
it was the bare minimum. It was late. It was incomplete. It was slow. It didn’t have all
the data that I could have used.” What would be [nasally voice] expected? Industry average?
Normal? Oh, and then what would be the way they like it? That would cause them to say,
“Ah, that’s what I was hoping for! That’s what I–“>>audience: Desire.>>Kaufman: Desire. Okay, talk to your partner
for a moment. Go. What’s an example of that at Google? [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Good. Good. Okay. Notice by the
way that what you’re describing right now is someone else’s experience with what we
do at Google, not what we do at Google. Right? It’s not a checklist. It’s not a procedure.
It’s not a KPI. It’s someone else’s experience of that.
That becomes very clear when we take the next step. Above desire is the unexpected. It’s
the one that you didn’t know was coming. I call it [voice squeaks] surprising. Okay.
The way you say it is like getting a gift, with your hands like this. [voice squeaks]
Surprising. Try it. One, two, three. Here we go.>>audience: [voices squeak] Surprising.>>Kaufman: [voice squeaks] Surprising. Very
good. Has anybody ever bought you a gift, wrapped it up, brought it to the party, birthday,
holiday. You opened it, and when you saw what it was, you were genuinely surprised. [squeaks]
Ever happened? [laugher] Ever happened?>>male #12: Not exactly that sound.>>Kaufman: Not exactly that sound. [laughter]
But okay, you got the surprise. Now. Has anybody ever given you a gift. They bought it, they
wrapped it up, they brought it to the party. But when you opened it up, and you saw what
it was, you went, “Eheh.” [laughter] Hmm? And then, to be polite, you pretended to be
surprised. Okay, now what was the difference between
those two things? In both cases, whoever bought it for you intended to surprise you. In one
case, [squeaks] it worked. In the other case, eheh, it didn’t. What was the fundamental
difference? Talk to your partner. Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: The difference, the fundamental
difference, was whether or not the person who bought that for you understood what you–>>audience: Wanted.>>Kaufman: Not necessarily what you wanted
or what you expected, because if you already wanted it, you already expected it, it wasn’t
a–>>audience: Surprise.>>Kaufman: [voice squeaks] Surprise. If they
understood, though, what you v-v-v–>>audience: Value.>>Kaufman: –value, and they put some creative
thought into it: “If she values this and I do that, aha!” A nice surprise. On the other
hand, when the experience is “eheh”, maybe they got you something they value. Maybe they
got you something that you used to value, but they haven’t stayed current. I guess it
would be like if you had a data to understand somebody’s needs and interest, and they weren’t
really current, and you’re still serving up to them some results that was what they were
interested in before, they’re not going, “Oh, what a surprise!” They’re going, “Boy, are
you out of date.” Now, the level of service above surprising
is really where you astonish. It’s extraordinary. The world I use for this is unbelievable.
We’re not going to demonstrate it yet because I want to go below basic. What is below basic?
It’s terrible. It’s awful. It’s horrible. It’s so bad, I call it–>>female #5: Criminal.>>Kaufman: –criminal. Right. I don’t mean
break the law, but I mean you broke a promise. Like there’s a service brand. There’s a marketing
promise there. There’s an expectation there. And you violate it. They way you say this
one at the bottom is you put your hands together like handcuffs, please. Here we go. So you
did that quickly. [laughter] Priors. [laughter] Hands together. Just go like this. [gravely
low voice] Criminal. Here we go. One, two, three. And:>>audience and Kaufman: [gravely low voice]
Criminal.>>Kaufman: One step up.>>audience and Kaufman: [low, drawn out voice]
Basic.>>Kaufman: Cross your arms.>>audience and Kaufman: [nasally voice] Expected.>>Kaufman: Shoulders.>>audience and Kaufman: [start low, ends high]
Desire.>>Kaufman: Hands.>>audience: [voices squeak] Surprising.>>Kaufman: And fifth, here we go. Un–>>audience: Unbelievable.>>Kaufman: I got a back row here, they’re
going, [voice fades out] “Unbelievable.” [laughter] That’s a basic unbelievable. Come on. Google,
give me one unbelievable unbelievable. One, two, three, and:>>audience: [loudly] Unbelievable.>>Kaufman: Good. How is the service at Google?>>audience: Unbelievable. [laughter]>>Kaufman: I admire your enthusiasm. [laughter]
What would our customers say? What would the people you serve say? If you’re an internal
service provider, you work with colleagues in California and in another part of the world
in another group. If you’re an external service provider, if you’re working with Google partners,
what would they say? What would their experience be of the quality of service, the value that
you create for them? Ready? Turn to your partner. Six levels of service. Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Aha. Hold on, hold on. Now it gets
more tricky. Now it gets more tricky. We say, “We are committed to service excellence.”
A lot of organizations say that, so let me ask you the question: where is excellence
on these six levels of service? It’s not one of the six words. But you get the question
I’m asking you, right? Where is excellence on these six levels? Talk to your partner. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Okay, tell me. Yell it out, please.
Excellence is–>>male #13: Expected.>>Kaufman: –expected. Excellence is–>>audience: Desired.>>Kaufman: –desired. Excellence is–>>audience: Surprising.>>Kaufman: –surprising. Oh my God, how come
all over the place? The reason you can’t just put your finger on it is these six levels
are not stairs like they look. This thing’s an escalator. It’s constantly going down.
What I mean by that is that you come out with something new, it’s only new for a short period,
and then it’s>>male #13: Nice.>>Kaufman: –nice. Then nice becomes normal,
and normal becomes no big deal. How many of you remember this? [laughter] You laugh! But
when it first came out, it was–>>audience: Unbelievable.>>Kaufman: Unbelievable. Today: [low, drawn
out voice] Basic. [laughter] So back to my question: if the stairs keep slipping down,
what does it mean to be excellent on the six levels of service? Where is excellence? Talk
to your partner. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Right. Right. Excellence has become
a moving–>>male #14: Target.>>Kaufman: –target. The only way, then, that
you could be excellent at Google or anywhere else in your life is if you keep stepping–>>audience: Up.>>Kaufman: Up. Okay, so now let’s be definitional.
Remember ontological linguistic distinctions. What is service excellence? I challenge you
in business in your life to ask a lot of leaders that and see what kind of a fluffy answer
they come up with. This is a grounded answer: service excellence is taking the next step
up to create more value for someone else. The service excellence culture is where every
single person comes to work every day and says, “That’s what I’m up to. I’m not here
doing my job, I’m not here following a procedure. I’m here taking some action that creates some
value. If I stand still, by default, I’m going to be–“>>male #15: Going down.>>Kaufman: Stepping down. Especially in the
competitive world that you folks work in. [pause] So I want you to apply this to your
job right now. What would be an example of doing what you do, but doing it a little bit
differently, and someone else would say, “Thanks, I appreciate that. That’s better.” It might
be something more proactive. It might be better follow-up. It could be greater flexibility.
It might be additional options. I don’t know. But it’s got to be something that the other
person will–>>audience: Appreciate.>>Kaufman: –appreciate and v-v-v–>>audience: Value. Okay? Talk to your partner.
Apply this to your job, right now. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Good. All right, Googlers, come
on back. Fundamental principle– By the way, how old do you think somebody needs to be
to understand that? [pause] Catch it in your early teens, which is where it should be taught.
Now, let’s couple that principle with this one: service is delivered in a sequence. For
example, I go to a web page and I type in what I’m looking for. I start to see results.
Then I click through. Then I see if I can navigate easily to get what I’m looking for.
Then I’m going to go back again, etc. Da-da-da-da-da-da, at some point, I’m gone. Same thing is true
going to a restaurant, same thing is true with most service in life. Every one of those
points is evaluated by the person being served on those six levels of service. How many of
those points need to be below [nasally voice] expected to mess up a service experience?>>male #16: One.>>Kaufman: One. How many of them need to be
[voice squeaks] surprising? Assuming all the rest are [nasally voice] expected to make
it a good experience?>>audience: One.>>Kaufman: Also one. That’s the power. If
you get everybody coming to work going, “My job is to keep stepping up”, you don’t need
everybody to be surprising about everything all day. You need everybody looking for an
opportunity to surprise. An example of that is at Changi Airport, where
they have the ambition to be known as one of the friendliest airports in the world.
They have a critical transaction. It’s called arrivals. It starts when the aircraft door
opens and it ends when the taxi door closes. In between those two doors is an experience
that you have going through arrivals and immigration and getting your bags and customs and taxi
lines. One of those points was getting a low score
on the friendly scale. It was causing a problem. Which point do you think that might be? Immigration.
It’s not their job to be friendly. [laughter] Right? But Changi Airport wants to be and
is the most awarded airport on the planet, so they analyzed it. They dug in and they
said, “Look, we’ve got to get these guys to be more smiley and more friendly and say nice
things to 42 million passengers a year? Please.” In fact, they tried it and it was a problem
because then the line slowed down. [laughter] So they innovated, and they took another step
up. They actually did something very simple: on every single one of the immigration counters,
they put one of these. It’s a box of candies. Of breath mints. And they changed the script
for the immigration officers. All they have to say now when you walk up, is they say,
“Passport.” You hand it over and they say one word: “Sweet?” 42 million people: [voice
squeaks] Oh! Sweet. Friendly score shot up. Now, that’s just a tiny example. Just like
improving something in a search result or improving something on a web page is a tiny
example. But it’s the accumulation of those that produces a powerful experience. For example,
at Changi Airport, if you’re carrying something that you’re not allowed to bring on board
the aircraft, and it happens, now you can mail it back to yourself on the spot. Solves
a problem. Turns a complaint into a differentiator. You can have a butterfly experience at Changi
Airport in between your flights. Go to– There’s a little botanic garden. You just stand still,
and butterflies will come and land on you. [laughter] What’s that got to do with an airport?
Well, if you want to be the number 1 airport in the world, you want to be stress-free,
surprising, personal. What if you have kids? Because they’re not
going to sit still for a butterfly. What you want to do is tire them out before the next
flight. Take them to the indoor slide that’s four stories tall, that’s the largest one
in the country, and for free, your kids can go up and down and up and down and up and
down, so on the next flight, they will sleep. Creating Value. Monday morning, have a free
coffee. What’s driving them is this: it’s your experience.
It turns them on. That’s what they call their inspiration. I know that at Google, you’re
doing it all the time. You’ve also got a B to C and a B to D model. This is one of our
web pages up in the front. You’ll see it when you go to the homepage at Up Your Service.
That’s from the butterfly garden. Well, this is from Singapore Airlines. That’s B to C
as well, for the most part, except for cargo. This is Marina Bay Sands, one of the new,
very large, integrated resorts that recently opened in Singapore. It’s another B to C.
Parkway Medical, another one of the groups we’re working with. So in many different industries,
they get it about improving service. But it’s not only B to C. This is a company
called Vopak. They are the largest oil and chemical storage company in the world. I want
you to see what we’ve been doing with them, what they’ve been doing with the same simple
models. Now look at this. They have taken what they do in the terminals, and they’ve
mapped it out. This is what happens when a guest, one of their customers, comes to visit
the terminal. Look how many points they identified. Then, they drilled down under every one of
those points and said, “What would be criminal, basic, expected, desired, surprising, or unbelievable
for the people visiting our terminal at every one of those points?” Oh, and then they did
it again, for visiting a customer at their office, which some of you Googlers do. Then
they did it again, for getting a new contract. Then they did it again, for actually executing
on the business that they’re all about. Then they did it again, even for handling customer
feedback. Can you imagine the number of innovative improvements they were able to identify? And
that’s just two of the simple models that I’ve shown you here. Every single perception
point is evaluated on the six levels of service, and it’s always slipping down.
So that first model, second model, third, fourth, and fifth, constitute a fundamental
set of service education, that you can learn more about at the website. Now, how many times
did you learn math? How many times did you learn history, and science, and English? Not
once. And yet, companies today think they can send somebody to a service class and they’re
done. Doesn’t work that way. Here’s a whole other set of education, about building a deeper
service partnership. Here’s a whole other set of education, on increasing customer loyalty.
This is the area where, if you want to build a coach, you’ve got to dig down deep underneath,
and see what are the fundamental principles of service. That’s what it is that I think
needs to be educated in the world. In the book that you got today, the fourth section
is called Learn. It has all those principles explained with examples and action steps to
apply. That’s the educational base. Now let’s jump to the top and look at leadership.
Who said that? [pause] Most of you, I imagine, would own at least one of his products. [pause]
Steve Jobs. Right. Passionate about “What’s the customer’s experience with that product
going to be. Who said this? [pause] I’ll give you a hint:
he likes to sell things. In fact, he’s created the largest retail organization on the planet.
23 million employees. Right? Wal-Mart. Sam Walton.
Who said this? [pause] Give you a hint: your industry turned around an organization that’d
become arrogant and complacent and confident that they knew better. It was Lou Gerstner.
The man who went from American Express to IBM and turned it around.
Who said this? [pause]>>male #17: Walt Disney.>>Kaufman: That’s exactly correct. You know
because you have kids. [laughter]>>male #17: I don’t. [laughter]>>Kaufman: [laughs] You are a kid. [laughter]
Who said this? It’s Albert Einstein. Now let’s get a little closer to home. Who
said this? [laughter] Your guy. [laughter] And who said this? [pause] Your other guy.
So the awareness of the need to satisfy users, it’s always been there, from the very beginning.
It’s in the DNA of the organization. You understand taking action to create–>>audience: Value.>>Kaufman: –value for someone else. You’re
fundamentally a service organization, as is every single position inside this organization.
We could do a lot more on leadership, and there’s a section in the book on that called
Lead, but I want to spend just a moment peeking at this area in the middle. These 12 building
blocks. These are common practice, especially in an organization the size of Google. But
it doesn’t mean that the way they’re being done is necessarily best practice for creating
a cultural environment that constantly reinforces and reminds people about the importance of
taking action to create more value for somebody else. This is where companies get confused,
because these 12 different building blocks are often handled by different parts of the
organization who don’t see the need to work closely together. All Singapore Airlines is
doing is this. This is what all of the companies that are differentiating based on customer
experience have figured out how to do. These are the 12 building blocks. Now, there’s a
very large section in the book called Build, in which each one of these blocks has a chapter.
In each chapter are global best practices and actionable steps that leaders and service
providers can take to actually make these things stronger. Today, we don’t have time
to go through all of them, but on the website, there are videos about each of them. They’re
free. They’re all on YouTube as well. I want to just zoom in on two of these right
now. One of them is the critical importance of having what I call an engaging service
vision. Something that turns people on and makes them want to do that. To say it in a
way that people go, “Yeah, that’s what we’re about!” The key word here is not vision. The
key word here isn’t even service. The key word is engaging, because otherwise, it’s
just words on the wall. Here’s an example. [pause] Texas. Anybody
here from Texas? [pause] Okay. Texas is a country. You know that. [laughter] Right?
We’re proud Texans. For good reason. They had a litter problem. The litter problem was
that males between the age of 19 and 35 were driving their pickup truck with a shotgun
in the back and throwing the beer cans out on the highway. The litter was accumulating.
The State Department of Transportation had to spend more and more and more money each
year clearing it up. So they decided to have a campaign: Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute. Think
it worked?>>male #18: [inaudible]>>Kaufman: You know why? Because in Texas,
owls are considered varmints. [laughter] Didn’t work at all. So they really went into the
psychology of what would it take to engage these [brawny voice] proud, young, men who
are Texans and don’t you tell them otherwise. They just changed the name of the program.
Do you know what it is? Don’t–>>female #6: Mess with Texas.>>Kaufman: Don’t Mess with Texas. Today, you
could be driving along in your pickup and throw a beer can out the window, but you better
watch out who’s behind you, because they may be saying, “Don’t you mess with my state.”
Only by making that change in the vision of what the program was about, the litter went
down and the expense went down. Texas highways today are looking better because somebody
figured out a better vision. When I started working with this company,
joint venture between Nokia and Siemens, and the Teleco hardware and software space, they
had just approved a new marketing campaign that was called– two words: Knowing How.
Think about that. Knowing How. Who is that appealing to? [pause] The engineers and the
people who work there were proudly saying, “We know!” But how appealing is that to the
companies that you serve? People don’t really care what you know. There’s a lot of smart
people in this company. They don’t care so much what you know as what you do with what
you know for–>>audience:Them.>>Kaufman: –for them. So we simply changed
it to Know How, Act Now. But now we’re coming to the final exam of
this presentation. What’s the purpose of the action? Is it just to show that you know?
Or is it to actually create an impact for the other person? Right. We added two more
words. It became Know How, Act Now, Create Wow. Which is the definition of the word unbelievable.
This is now driving 60,000 people in the organization to know “Who is my customer? What is their
pain point? What have we done for them in the past? What are they currently complaining
about? What is our competition offering? Who else in my organization is in communication
with them? What action can I take that they will appreciate?” Clear? That’s about as–
as it gets. But they understood this, and they said, “Okay, we’re going to come up with
a new vision. It’s called Creating Value Beyond the Numbers.” Think about what that means
for a finance department to say, “Our mission is not to get the report right, not to just
make the payments, not to just be a normal, expected finance department. We’ve got to
now reach out to our colleagues and help create more value for them. How to use the data.
How to interpret these charts. How to use this to help you make better decisions.” Okay,
pause for a second. What is the engaging surface vision for the group that you work with? If
you’ve got one, share it. If you don’t have one, now’s the chance to go, “You know, we
should really figure that out.” Okay? Talk to your partner. Go. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Okay. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.
Most organizations in the world haven’t taken this step yet. They think it’s the customer
service department’s job. Or they think it’s up to the boss or the service manager, not
realizing, “Hey, it’s all of us. It’s service to all of us.”
I’ve got one more story for you. It’s from that last building block right there called
service role modeling. But first, a question: of all the 12 building blocks, why would service
role modeling go last?>>male #19: Because you have to know how you
can do other things before you can role model.>>Kaufman: Okay, let me ask you a question.
That’s good. [pause] Let’s say you’re messing up in the other areas, but your personal role
model is really strong. The staff that you work with can see that you’re committed to
responding, you’ll listen to somebody who’s got a complaint, you’re going the extra mile.
Do you think other people will be a bit inspired to help you out? Even if the other things
aren’t working yet. On the other hand, if Google nails it and gets all of the other
11 really just right, but the role model of the people in the organization doesn’t demonstrate
that they believe it, do you think the new people, like this woman here, it’s her second
day on the job, or the intern that’s over here who’s just joining Google for the summer,
do you really think that they’re going to go, “Oh yeah, we believe it!” because you
have the program in place? It’s the power, the impact of what you do today. It’s your
voice on the phone. It’s the way you end an email, whether you put that little PS that
says, “By the way, just want to let you know how much I appreciate that effort” or “Hey,
here’s my personal, my cell phone. Feel free to give me a call if you need my help.” It’s
that personal role model that can make a big impact. Every one of us can do it.
So one last story, because it reminds me so much differently from New York, which is where
we are right now. An American consultant went to Sweden to work in a large factory on an
implementation project. He was from California, so he was accustomed to warm weather. He gets
to Sweden, he’s in his hotel, he looks outside, and it looks like this. His Swedish host comes
and picks him up in the car. A nice Volvo. The Volvo’s nice and warm. Picks him up at
the hotel. They drive to the factory. They are there early. The factory is not opening
for another half an hour. They happen to get there really early. No traffic that day. The
guy drives his Volvo to the farthest edge of the parking lot away from the factory building,
steps out of the car, buttons up his big, heavy Swedish coat. The American from California
steps out and starts shivering. They walk all the way across this frozen parking lot
to get into the factory. They get there, and the guy from California’s practically frozen
stiff, and turns and looks at his host and says, “W-w-w-w-what did you do that for?”
The Swedish guy looks at him, feels fine, says, “Do what?” He says, “We came early.
Why did you park all the way over there?” And the Swede said, “Isn’t it obvious?” The
Californian said, “What do you mean, obvious? I’m freezing!” He goes, “Oh. Well, see, as
my colleagues come– We came early. So we had plenty of time. But as my colleagues come
closer and closer to the opening of the factory when we need everybody to be on time, they’re
going to have less and less time. So doesn’t it make sense for me to park on the–“>>female #7: Farthest end.>>Kaufman: Right. Now, that’s taking action
to create value for someone–>>male #20: Else.>>Kaufman: –else. Doesn’t it sound exactly
like New York City? [laughter] Making the shift from a confused culture where there’s
lots of different messages going on, to aligning yourself, in your case on user experience
or creating value for your advertisers or helping your colleague to be more successful
or having this intern’s career step forward or making this new person at Google feel welcome.
That’s taking action to create value for somebody else. It is possible to engineer the development
of a culture that does that. I started at the beginning a little more cerebral
than when I work with most of my clients. What are the fundamental linguistic distinctions?
Well, you better have those principles worked out. What are the standard practices? You
better have a way that people can actually implement. What are the strategies of the
companies that do it well? That’s what you’ll find in the book Uplifting Service, and you
all got a copy of it today. There’s a fundamental methodology, a way that we work top down with
organizations and bottom up to make the results actually stick, with implementing this over
time. That’s section 5 in the book, called Drive. All of this you’ll find at the website.
If you just add the words “slides” at the end of the URL, so that it becomes upyourservice.com/slides,
a summary set of slides of this entire presentation are available for download for free. At YouTube,
I’m armed and dangerous, walking around New York City with my little flipcam and an external
microphone. I’m shooting all the time and using your wonderful YouTube service. Thank
you very much, Google. And of course, the book is called Uplifting Service. You can
find out more about that at upliftingservice.com. Before I close, I’d like to demonstrate one
more thing to you that you’ll get a personal experience. Once again, please. Say thank
you to your partner. [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Okay, good. Now, what level– [laughter]
Good, good. What level did you just say thank you on the six levels of service. Criminal,
basic, expected, desired, surprising, unbelievable. Talk to your partner. What level? [audience murmurs] [laughter]>>Kaufman: All right, come on back. Come on
back. You’ve got it calibrated it now, right? You’ve got to calibrate it. In your mind,
once you get ready, I’m going to ask you to step up one level higher, or, if you’re really
enthusiastic, step up two, and get ready to thank your partner that way, but at a higher
level. You ready? Ready, ready, ready, and, and, and, go. Say thank you. [audience loudly murmurs]>>Kaufman: Three questions to wrap up. Question
number 1: could you feel a difference, yes or no?>>audience: Yes.>>Kaufman: Good. Question number 2: did it
feel better or worse?>>audience: Better.>>Kaufman: Better. Now here’s the critical
question: did it feel better when they thanked you at a higher level, or did you already
start feeling better when you were getting ready to thank them? Which one was it? Where
did the good feeling come? Was it already when you were getting ready, or did it happen
only when they thanked you?>audience: Getting ready.>>Kaufman: Right. When you were getting ready.
So this is the amazing not only pay it forward, but pay it straight back to yourself of committing
yourself to do something more for someone else. The moment you make the decision to
do something to help somebody else more, the first person who gets the benefit of that
is you. The energy comes up in you, and what goes around, comes around. What goes around,
comes around. Rub your hands together, please. [rubbing noise] Clap twice. [clapping] Hands
up. Turn to your partner. [clapping] No, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, why– Hold on a second,
why’d you give him a high five? [laughter] Why’d you do that? Because we’ve already done
it a couple times before, so it’s become what?>>audience: Expected.>>Kaufman: [nasally voice] Expected. But we’re
committed to stepping–>>audience: Up.>>Kaufman: –up. So rub your hands together.
[rubbing noise] Clap three times. [clapping] Hands up. Turn to your partner. Give him a
hiiiiiiiiiii you want to give him a high five? [clapping] And then, hands up, hands up, hands
up. Give him a hug! [audience murmurs]>>Kaufman: Okay, I know we’re not in California.
[laughter] Thank you very much, Googlers, for the privilege and the pleasure of being
with you today here at Google. Thank you.

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