Shane Green is a world-renowned keynote speaker, author, television personality, and consultant to global Fortune 500 leaders on customer experience and organizational culture.
Shane draws on his foundation at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and his work in multiple industries, to help clients transform customer experiences by improving employee habits and mindsets.
As president and founder of SGEi, Shane leads a team of professionals who inspire iconic brands like the NBA, Westfield, Foot Locker, Net Jets, Inc., W Hotels, MGM Resorts, and BMW to reprogram their employee experiences—in order to create loyal customers and raving fans.
Intro: [00:00:01] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, it’s time for Customer Experience Radio. Brought to you by Heineck & Company, real estate advisors specialized in corporate relocation. Now, here’s your host, Jill Heineck.
Jill Heineck: [00:00:19] Good afternoon and welcome to this very special edition of Customer Experience Radio. I’m your host, Jill Heineck. I’m a business owner, real estate advisor and customer experience enthusiast. I’m super excited to have our guests on the show today, the culture hacker himself, Mr. Shane Green.
Shane Green: [00:00:35] Hey, Jill. How are you?
Jill Heineck: [00:00:36] I am great. I’m so happy you’re here. I want to let everybody know that you are a world-renowned keynote speaker, author, television personality – we’ll get to that later – and consultant to global Fortune 500 leaders on customer experience and organizational culture. Shane draws on his foundation at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company and his work in multiple industries to help clients transform customer experiences by improving employee habits and mindsets. As President and Founder of SGEI, Shane leads a team of professionals who inspire iconic brands like the NBA, Westfield, Foot Locker, NetJets, W Hotels, MGM and BMW to pre-program their employee experience in order to create loyal customers and create raving fans.
Jill Heineck: [00:01:26] I love that Shane has developed a reputation as one of the world’s premiere culture hackers. Think about that. How many of those do you now? This is based on his ability to understand or reprogram outdated thinking, mindsets, values and beliefs, which define the environment in which people work. His experience in hospitality, automotive, retail and professional sports has led to significant customer experience transformations that are emulated around the world. Fun fact: Shane was the star of Resort Rescue, where he’d go in and turn ailing hotels and resorts around from failing to fabulous. Hi, Shane.
Shane Green: [00:02:04] Hey, how are you? Well, that’s quite a lot. I’m impressed. I could just sit back and listen all day. So, where do you begin?
Jill Heineck: [00:02:11] Well, you tell me. We’d love to know a little bit about you and how your journey has gotten you to this point.
Shane Green: [00:02:19] Great. Well, there’ll be a little accent that’ll come in and out, but I’m originally from New Zealand. Came over at 21. I was very fortunate, I joined the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company for about 10 years, and they turned me into a gentleman. They have “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” So, I like that they did a good job. And from there, at the end of my time with them, I actually started my first business, which was a training company. And it was all about, let’s deliver customer service, customer service.
Shane Green: [00:02:47] What I realized – and again, I think it’s no shock to everyone out there – when you just do service training that you don’t address supervisors’ and managers’ executive thinking. And when you think about service, people often get confused. They think customer service is customer experience. Customer service is actually just the interaction. The experience is the journey. So, as we started to look at that, instead of just looking at the interactions of service, we recognize there was multiple interactions of service in this journey, and that you couldn’t just target one if you wanted to create – at that time, I guess, it was more about loyal customers. What I think today is advocates. People that are out there shouting your name, talking all of that good stuff. So, it’s really been an evolution over the years.
Shane Green: [00:03:30] In hospitality, when we talk about a hotel, we’ll always talk about the 4Ps – product, place, process, people. And I think what we’ve learned and, hopefully, everyone learns is that when it comes to great customer experience, your people are absolutely integral to that. And so, really, as we’ve evolved, what I found is I’ve guided companies on customer experience, we’ve ended up always talking about people, people as culture. And so, that’s where the sort of transformation from being very focused on just customer experience, we actually focus a lot on an employee experience today. EX drives CX is what I kind of say a lot.
Shane Green: [00:04:08] And as a result, we wanted to start to understand how to evoke cultures for great customer service organizations. We got to study and research them, and we got to work with a lot of other great brands. Ten years ago, I was mapping the customer journey. A lot of what we do today is map the employee journey, which I think is very relevant now at times today. There’s a lot of stresses going on and a lot of things. So, I work with so many different companies, and what is always amazing to me is they’ll tell me they want a great customer experience, but they haven’t got a great customer experience strategy. All they want a great employee experience or a great coach, but they don’t have a strategy for it. So, we’ve really kind of honed in on those areas.
Jill Heineck: [00:04:49] So, tell me, were you working for the Ritz those 10 years when you were in New Zealand?
Shane Green: [00:04:55] No. So, that was my first job, real job when I was out here. When I was in New Zealand, I’ve paved my way to college getting into hotels but was pretty rough around the edges. So, I was very fortunate with Ritz Carlton. I was in Marina del Ray. But then, I had the opportunity to go through to Asia and open up some hotels over there. So, you really got to see customer service at its best, but more importantly, the understanding of the guest journey.
Shane Green: [00:05:20] I built was some Gallup research you may have seen. And again, it’s a while ago. But they talked about in a guest’s one night stay at a hotel, there was something, just over a 1073 touch points. And that’s from the time they picked up the phone. What was most fascinating or most important, I think, for all businesses to remember, of those 1073 touch points, five define the experience, which mean five touch points, the check-in, the room service or food option, the reservation process, the bed and room when they first walked into it actually defined whether or not someone had a good experience.
Shane Green: [00:06:00] And so, what I think is most interesting is that we talk about a lot is … and again, Daniel Kahneman’s work, if you haven’t read it out there or haven’t seen his TED talk, please make sure you do it, Fast and Slow is essential reading, but understanding this whole idea that to create a great experience, people remember snapshots of the journey, not the whole thing. So, it’s not like it’s a video. So, there’s certain moments in the customer experience journey that really make a huge difference. And what we’ve realized now, it’s the same in the employee journey as well.
Shane Green: [00:06:32] So, going from hospitality, I go back 20 years when people were all in about service. “All right. Can you come and help us with service?” What we really need to be talking about today is the larger journey and how to really make each of those key moments fantastic.
Jill Heineck: [00:06:48] That’s right. So, right after your stint with the Ritz Carlton, which, by the way, we had Hortz on here last year when his-
Shane Green: [00:07:00] I mean, I got to spend time with Holtz.
Jill Heineck: [00:07:02] I can’t-
Shane Green: [00:07:02] He was really like my uber mentor.
Jill Heineck: [00:07:07] Amazing. I mean, so incredible. And literally, we didn’t have enough time because he was just on, and he was incredible. So, that is a gift to be able to learn under him. So, then, did you go to another resort after that or did you just start your consultancy from there?
Shane Green: [00:07:24] No, it was funny. And, again. I was a lot younger back then. But I realized-
Jill Heineck: [00:07:31] Weren’t we all?
Shane Green: [00:07:32] Yeah. And again, I had this epiphany. Actually, I had to go back to New Zealand for a period. My father was very sick. And I had this epiphany. And he always worked for someone else for his whole life, and he was like, “You try and work for yourself.” And I was like, “Okay, I’m going to start my own business.” And at the time, I go, “Well, wait. What do I know I can do? I know a little bit about hotels. I know customer service.” What I learned through opening hotels in Asia was I was pretty good standing up and speaking in front of large crowds. So, they kind of liked that. And I was single and could travel anywhere. And I said, “All right. If that’s the foundation of a business, let’s go for it.”
Shane Green: [00:08:09] And I was very fortunate. I wrote a couple of programs, I threw them around friends in hospitality, I got picked up by a couple of hotels, but I got picked up by Starwood Hotels Resorts. Actually, they contracted me as part of the new built and transition team. And at that time, the Ws, Westons, Sheratons. And then, from there, we developed for them a housekeeping ATC, and housekeeping insurance, service promise, all of these programs. So, it kept me in the hospitality space but allowed me to kind of branch out.
Shane Green: [00:08:42] And then, I think, that went on for a few years. The real significant one was when the MBA came to approach. It is a fascinating business case. They asked us to think about a season ticket holder experience. And they’ve got some really interesting research that said the reason people are season ticket holders is not just to watch the game of basketball. The game of basketball is kind of the catalyst for an experience. But when they’re researched, they found that people that took their children, they didn’t really care about the game. What they cared about was connecting with their kids. Business people didn’t really care about the game. It’s good if they win but they wanted to close the network of the business.
Shane Green: [00:09:20] And so, what we did is we mapped all these different ways to create great experiences for these different type of fans. And then, we built training for it. And that was sort of that first venture into realizing it’s not just about great service, and if you deliver it, it’s fine. It’s about what were the key moments. And if you’ve ever been a season ticket holder, you’ll know something like they’ll deliver a jersey to you in your seat. Well, they’ll do that when you’re a business person, and you tell them that you’re bringing your biggest client to the game, and they suddenly turn up with a jersey for him, that’s a great moment.
Shane Green: [00:09:56] And that’s what really every business out there that makes customer experience a priority. Just has to remember, it’s all about creating great moments. What are you doing to do that moment that people talk about and rave about?
Jill Heineck: [00:10:10] I love that. I love that. So, let’s talk as we delve for it. Let’s talk a little bit about defining culture hacker.
Shane Green: [00:10:17] Yeah. So, for me, what it was, as I said, we really start to understand that the part that people play in creating great customer experience. At the Ritz Carlton, we used to have a saying. There’s an old hospitality axiom that says, “People with a great attitude give great service. People with a bad attitude get bad service.” Nothing shocking about that. But what I realized is attitude was everything. And we’ve all been customers out there where we might have had really good food, the setting was perfect, the place was bright, the product was that, and then you interacted with someone with a crappy attitude, and they ruined it. And that hasn’t changed. That has remained.
Jill Heineck: [00:10:56] No, it happens.
Shane Green: [00:10:57] It’s still there. But what I would always look at, I’d go, “Wait up. Why is that one person so miserable that they want to make my life or experience miserable?” And I would step back and I’d say, “Yes, there are some things in people’s lives, but I don’t believe people come to work to do a bad job. What they do is they come from home, they come into work, and the environment is not one that makes them or inspires them to want to do something.” And so, they’ve got a crappy leader, a manager that disrespects them, a company that doesn’t care for them. All of these things feed. And so, at the end of the day, an employee goes, “Why should I care? Why should I put my energy into this?”
Shane Green: [00:11:37] So, from this idea of attitude, I really started to study culture because everyone was throwing this idea of culture around. And what I realized is culture is just the collective hearts and minds of a group of people. So, you have cultures in every form of life. And what you realize is in the workplace, culture is the collective mindset. Some people have a bad day every now to again. That’s human. But what you’re looking for is when the whole group is having a bad day because the environment, and the leader, and all of that is just not nice, you’ll never delivered great experience.
Shane Green: [00:12:09] And so, what we looked at was we started to map all the touch points and mechanisms that impacted how someone felt about coming to work from the time of their hiring process, their orientation day, their recognition program. No surprise, the single biggest person that impacted it was the direct manager. So, that really led us into a lot of stuff about leadership development in that. But the whole idea that I started to find fascinating was how do you change and evolve culture? Because everyone would say it’s impossible to change it. And I’m a bit of a change junkie, so I go, “All right. If people can change, cultures change because culture is people.”
Shane Green: [00:12:47] So, I’d start to then look at how companies were approaching change. And we work with a very, very large sports entertainment company. I’ll put it out there without naming names. Sports entertainment company. They got us in. We are working very much on the customer experience side of things. We would start to play with some stuff with people. And I remember, the president of the company getting up and they did this annual meeting. There would have been 5000-6000 employees sitting there. I remember getting up, and he’s quite a famous person saying, “I just wanted to let everyone know that this culture is broken. You are going to change. We are going to fix this. We are going to have the best culture in the world. And you’re all going to do that with me or else.” And as I looked, the whole 5000 people was stunned. People were frozen.
Shane Green: [00:13:38] First of all, most people don’t know what culture is, so they go. “I don’t know what I did wrong, but I don’t think it’s me. But I just heard that I might be under threat.” So, they hear change, they freeze. And this is what happens in many organizations. So, that’s where the idea of culture happened to came. I’m always fascinated by the hacker community. I’m not a tech person. But when I looked at it, what hackers do is they go in very quietly, they make changes for good and bad, but let’s say for good. They go and make changes. And then, all of a sudden, the changes occurred without making a big deal about it.
Shane Green: [00:14:11] And what I realized is that’s one of the most important parts of significant change. Don’t go in yelling, “We’re going to change. We got to change,” because people get scared. A lot of the things that we do is we go in behind the scenes, we manipulate mechanisms, we improve the recognition program, and we just say, “This is about what you need and what we do.” But we don’t go out there and say, “Big change.” We say we do it really quietly. We can do things very quietly, create a significant impact on how people feel. And when people start to feel better, guess what? All of a sudden, the idea of customer experience, productivity, profitability, people stick around longer. This is not rocket science. We have the numbers to prove this. And it all came back to they just created a better environment for the people to work at.
Jill Heineck: [00:14:56] I love that. And I’d love to know a little bit more. Can you give a good example of kind of a … it’s a change management thing is what we’re talking about, right? So, I mean, for getting down in the weeds with HR terms, but can you give an example of a team that you were able to see those results in a fairly quick fashion?
Shane Green: [00:15:20] Significant, sort of. And again, I love it, HR terms. Some of those terms are horrible. So, change management. It means management by definition is control. Trying to control change, I think about it, it’s like performance management. I’m trying to control performance. Some of these terms are just ridiculous and outdated. So, let’s take it through the journey.
Shane Green: [00:15:45] BMW is a great example. So, BMW ultimately was, “We wanted to improve our customer experience.” And so, they mapped the eight key moments in the sale of the car. Now, again, it’s changed these days. Let’s go back 5 to 10 years. Going in to buy a car was one of the worst experiences because you knew you walk in the door and you’d get whacked by some sales dude who’s trying to sell you everything. And this is one thing that I think the internet has changed. In the past, the salesperson had all the knowledge. Now, the customers have knowledge. So, getting inundated with someone trying to BS you is kind of annoying. It’s frustrating these days.
Shane Green: [00:16:23] So, we went in and we started to look at. They looked at all these touch points, and they listened to their customers. And let’s look at BMW. BMW’s mantra is the ultimate driving machine. They believe they have the best car. Arguably, probably the best car, but Mercedes and a lot of other automobile manufacturers are pretty damn good, but they had the ultimate driving machine. There was a belief that if you wanted the best car, you’d buy a BMW, and they didn’t have to do anything else. You either want it or you don’t. And so, that was the way that they sold. It’s like, “You don’t want this car, go.”
Shane Green: [00:16:59] Now then, there was a little company that came in – and again, you’re looking 25 years ago – that literally changed luxury automobiles, old Lexus. Now, in case you don’t know, Lexus is a Toyota on steroids. That’s literally what it is. But what they did do is they said, “Let’s not just focus on the car, let’s focus on the experience.” And all of a sudden, you’d go in there, and they were very polite, and you got a cup of coffee. And all of a sudden, they changed the whole sales and service process. Mercedes Benz, they all started to pay attention and go, “How can a souped-up Toyota take down market share?” Well, they did it for experience.
Shane Green: [00:17:32] So, BMW now goes, “Okay. We need to build a better experience.” And what they do it through all these touch points, they started to realize … and if you go to some of the great BMW dealerships – and again, they’re all franchise – but the really good ones, I mean, you can go in there and it’s like a Starbucks. They have the coffee program. They’ve got great food. They got great Wi-Fi. We were all part of mapping this great experience, but what we didn’t see was the people.
Shane Green: [00:17:58] And so, in the sales process, what we recognized as we’re putting these really little cafes in there, we were making the dealerships look great, the processes were better, but they were still dealing with that salesperson, the traditional salesperson who just wanted to, quite honestly, turn you off. And so, we started to look at that group and realized that it had to be a real mindset. The change had to come from within them to really finish what this experience was about. Now, we did a lot of training and sort of did that. And believe me, they made some great inroads. But at the same time, we looked at what Apple was doing, and we said, “Wow, you know what? The idea genius.”
Shane Green: [00:18:40] The number one thing that people said is they they hate walking into a dealership and being accosted by the salesperson. So, if you go to a BMW dealership today, the first person to meet is generally the BMW genius. And their job is not to sell you but to educate you, let you experience, take you for drives, get your coffee. It’s a much more softer experience. What we did is we took those people often who worked in the BMW dealership, but we looked at them in terms of personality, not experience. We changed the hiring process.
Shane Green: [00:19:12] Hiring process is one of the quickest and best mechanisms to change a culture because instead of just hiring the people for the most experience. The joke at BMW. I remember one day, the sales guy, one of the big sales guys got fired. The joke was, the next day he was working at the car dealership next door selling Hondas. You know why? Because people were hired on experience. People always hire, and they go, “If you’ve got experience, I don’t need to train you, it means you will be productive.” One of the best ways to change culture is to hire the right personalities, the right style, people that will culturally fit. And so, that’s an example of one mechanism that we shifted the whole interview process.
Jill Heineck: [00:19:53] You have to just slow your roll, right? Slow your roll, hire slower, fire faster.
Shane Green: [00:19:59] Correct. See, managers will hire on two reasons. The first reason is, do you have experience? They don’t even look. “Oh my God. They’ve got experience. Let’s hire them.”
Jill Heineck: [00:20:07] They’re also hiring out of they’re dying, and they just need to fill a spot, right? And they don’t want to train.
Shane Green: [00:20:13] They don’t want to train, so you hire an experienced. And then, the second thing that they look for is, are you like me? If you’re like me, then we’re going to get on fine. The problem is that’s a very narrow focus. Organizations that do it well, they hire for the company. And one of the best practice we see is that a selection processes by employees. The employees will do the interviewing, not the manager. They’ll do the ultimate selection. Why? Because they’re going to set them up to success more than anything else.
Shane Green: [00:20:40] So, this is where we start to get into that you can manipulate the mechanisms, change the hiring process, improve the recognition process. All of these things impact how I feel about coming to work each day. Then, ultimately, though, the thing you work on is the leadership development and that sort of programming. So, yeah, it sounds easy, but I think organizations have to be willing to invest. And ultimately they go, “I want just a better customer experience,” and here are we coming in going, “Well, you’re going to have to build a better employee experience first.” And it’s like, “Ugh, why do I have to do that?” People are evolving. I think people are learning that it is critical, but it is a process.
Jill Heineck: [00:21:22] It does. Yes, it does. It’s simple, not easy, right? Isn’t that the usual? So, I love this question you asked. The question is not, do you have a culture? The question is, do you have a culture that will engage your employees, delight your customers and deliver the required returns to your shareholders or owners? I mean, that in and of itself is, why isn’t that plastered everywhere in the leadership halls of the world, right?
Shane Green: [00:21:49] Yeah. So, here’s the piece. A lot of people will come to me and say, “Hey, can you help me build a culture?” And I go, “Okay, But you understand you already have a culture?” So, if culture is the hearts and minds of your people, what you have to understand is whether you formalized it or not, there is a culture there. They might hate you. They might really do. All of this comes in. So, the question is not, do you have a culture? You have a culture. What we do is we go in and we try and understand it. And again, employee satisfaction data, pulse data, interviews, you can quickly learn the state of mind and the state of the hearts of the employees. It is not that difficult. It’s amazing that, still, companies don’t do more.
Shane Green: [00:22:32] Once the state of their hearts and minds, if it’s not feeling too good, well, what is it that they should fix? So, what’s interesting is we’ll, then, list. We’ve got this 12 call mechanisms that I list in my book, and there’s a lot of other little ones, but we sort of look at the big ones of which pay is not one of them. Pay, once there’s a certain threshold, becomes a non-motivator. So, what we do is we look at these mechanisms, and we have employees rate, one, what is most important to them? And then, second, how does the company do? And what we start to find is, where are the areas that if we made a small area of improvement, they would start to feel better?
Shane Green: [00:23:11] Recognition program, recognition is a simple one. We got pulled in again, a huge hospitality company, huge, 80,000 to 90,000 people. We go in there, and we’re doing this. We’re doing our assessment. We’re looking for the triggers, and recognition kept coming up. And we’re like, “Wow, okay, recognition.” So, then, we start to look into what is recognition. A year before we went in, they implemented a new technology recognition platform, very popular today. And listen, we’re fans of it. But what had happened is when they rolled it out, they said, “This platform is now how we recognize everybody.” And each manager was given a certain amount of points, and you can get a reward. And if you earned a thousand points, you could buy a $20 Starbucks card. That’s how they usually work.
Shane Green: [00:23:59] What had happened is when they rolled it out, they said to managers, “Hey, this is how you recognize from now on.” So, what had happened is that now … and by the way, all you have to recognize four people. So, they kind of mandated this in the rollout. What the managers took that as is, “Great. I didn’t have to do anything else.” So, their recognition now was just going into the tech and saying high five and thank you. Exactly your reaction there. We talk to employees and they’re saying, “They stopped talking and saying thank you to us. They just send us this little high five that we get in an email.” So, they lost the heart of what recognition is, which is personal interaction.
Shane Green: [00:24:37] The other thing that they forgot is they said, “Okay, we’ve now given you a budget to reward.” So, you get five points or 10 points, and you build your bank up, and you, then, cash it in.” What they took away at the same time was their monthly celebrations, picnics, all the cool stuff that actually employees loved, which was coming together and being social. So, the second part of this system … and again, recognition was just tanked. They took away the interaction and social parts. And because people had to get a thousand points just to get a $20 Starbucks card, it took like six months. So, you’ve lost the immediacy of recognition, you lost the personalization of recognition, and you lost the celebration of recognition.
Shane Green: [00:25:24] That’s a great example of how one making it. They did it with the right mind. They go, “This is gonna be better. I’ll recognize more people,” but they lost the true intent of what recognition is. And as a result, they invested, recognition plummeted, and all we had to do was turn back all the human qualities that had been lost. So, those are the type of things that you have to look at. It’s not that organizations are necessary doing it with the wrong intent, but just doing it the wrong way because they’re not listening to their employees about what’s most important. They’re doing the things that they think is important. And let’s face it, our millennials started it. Now, our Gen-Zs. What these younger workers want is different from what’s certainly when I was there, and certainly when my parents were there. And yet, in some instances, you go into a very traditional organization that’s still being run like something from 20, 30, 40 years ago.
Jill Heineck: [00:26:21] Absolutely. And part of what I do in corporate relocation is hear what these transferees are saying, particularly millennials and younger. What they’re looking for when they’re interviewing or considering a role and relocating their lives. And what we’re hearing is, “When am I going to be interacting with my team? How often is that going to be? And do you have a track for me or when I can see myself in leadership? And then, can you see a track for me when I can be in Singapore in two years or less?” They’re coming in with demands, and they want to know that their team and their leaders are going to be nurturing them along the way. So, that has a lot to do with, obviously, the personal interaction that they’re craving, not just sitting on a tech platform.
Jill Heineck: [00:27:11] And number two, the recognition has to be there. Those milestones have to be built in, right? And from my perspective on the ground, wherever they leave or come to, they want to know that they’re uprooting and they know that they’re on a track. And I think that has been lacking in past years. So, when you say that we’re moving more towards an employee economy versus a customer-centric economy, I think, obviously, the customer is still the heart of the business but without the heartbeat of the employees, we’re going nowhere, right? And it’s pivotal to the business, but I think the employee experience is much more important in order to move the business forward anymore.
Shane Green: [00:28:02] And let’s look. In the last couple of years, we’ve had companies shift products, change policies because of employees. So, our Gen-Zs – and again, we brought up our Gen-Zs – they’re the activist group. They’re the activist generation. They’re not gonna take our bullshit. And I say this as the nicest thing, but I’m really not. I mean, our outdated policies. Let’s talk one of the biggest ones traditional that has been turned upside down. So, traditional companies never believe that you can work from home because they don’t know you, you have to be in the office. I got to see you. I got to touch you, feel you.
Shane Green: [00:28:39] On came the virus and all of a sudden, everybody’s working from home. Guess what? The people that performed really well in the office are performing even better at home. The people that sat in the office, you shouldn’t beat them because they still suck at home. And what people are having to do is that that is for our Gen-Zs, one of the biggest benefits, flex and now work from home. Just option.
Shane Green: [00:29:00] So, you’re seeing that asked for, companies have resisted. But now, that would be one of the, again, positive elements I think that comes out of what’s going on today is that, hey, more people can have flex work at home. And guess what? It’s okay. People don’t suddenly while you’re working from home and all of a sudden they’re not doing any work, they’re actually finding more productivity than not doing the long commutes anymore. They get to spend time with their family and all things they like to do. So, they’re becoming actually healthier.
Shane Green: [00:29:29] Wellness has been a thing we’ve talked to business for years, but we’ve had a really hard time of working out what wellness is in the workplace. Wellness is actually best delivered at home. So, there’s so much that we have to think about. Even what you said, which is career. I find that so many managers don’t talk about career because they don’t have a position open. So, they are afraid to talk about career with their associates because it means promotions. So, therefore, I’m going to shut up.
Shane Green: [00:29:59] I love Foot Locker, we worked with. One of the awesome things that they do on Foot Locker, 90 days after, so you’re hired, and they are hiring out gen-Zs, they’re hiring kids out of high school. 90 days after you pass your onboarding, you can then opt into the leadership program. Now, think about how cool this is. Let’s say it’s about 60% to 65% of their workforce isn’t that Gen-Z. So, you’re looking at 22, I think is the oldest now. It’s, in some ways, the Starbucks model. I’m going to you and going, “Hey, you’ve come out of high school. You might not have even graduated high school. You’ve got in here. And by the way, you have now an option to get into a leadership program. It’s a year. All of a sudden, they are now going, “Wait up. I’m in a leadership program.” They’re telling their parents, “I’m in a leadership program.” They’re telling their significant other, “I’m in.” All of a sudden, it gives them value.
Shane Green: [00:30:55] Now, instead of them just hanging out six months, they’re now sticking around a year and a half. So, Foot Locker is benefiting because they’re keeping people longer. They’re creating bench depth, but what they say at the start of the program is, “Listen, when you finish this program, there’s actually another leadership program you can go into. But we’re not guaranteeing you a promotion. What we are saying is we are going to set you up with skills for the future.” And you do this little test. And again, people aren’t going into malls much right now, but if you go to a mall with a Foot Locker, you can go around to other stores and you will find people that were trained as leaders in Foot Lockers because all these other brands have realized that Foot Locker is creating these future leaders and like going to kind of take them. But what a wonderful way to attract employees to deal with career development without saying, “I have to have a promotion for you.” I love that.
Jill Heineck: [00:31:48] Well, it’s an engagement. It’s instilling confidence. It’s feeling, like you said, value and feeling like they’re part of something. And then, they do have a future vision for themselves. Whether or not they pursue it, it’s up to them. But the fact that it’s been given to them without them having to go look for it, I think establishes a great relationship with the employer to the employee, right?
Shane Green: [00:32:11] And so, now, we go back to employee loyalty, employee advocacy. One of the things, we’re talking young generations, everyone says they fit their own world. They’ll say that because they turn over. What happens is our millennials and Gen-Zs say, “Listen, if I’m not challenged, if I’m not excited, I’m going to go somewhere else.” We, back in the day, probably didn’t make that choice because we’re worried about, “Gosh, we’ll get another job.” There a lot of sort of angst.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:41] Just trying to build your résumé. You’re trying to build your one résumé.
Shane Green: [00:32:44] Correct. You were told you have to stay, at least, 10 years with a company. And again, I love it. The kids coming up these days, they say, “Listen.” Again, I reiterate, they’re not dealing with our BS. They’re not dealing with our rules that kind of guided us and I would say the limits limited us in certain things. So, they’re saying today, “Listen, if you don’t challenge me, if you’re not interested in my career, if you’re not interested in me, I’m going to go elsewhere.”
Shane Green: [00:33:07] Now, the senior managers go, “Oh, those young people are very disloyal. Oh, my goodness. They are the worst workers ever.” No, they’re not. You just didn’t take care of them. What’s really cool is the organizations that I think are winning out there, they’ve won the talent war, they’ve got the best people; therefore, they deliver the best customer service and experience. They said, “Hey, we’re going to invest in you. We’re going to challenge you.”
Shane Green: [00:33:33] And the research that I think is so fascinating is if a millennial leaves a job that they felt good at, because they felt, “Hey, there’s promotions on there, I’m going to go overseas and I’m going to try a project,” they actually replaced themselves, which means they’ll tell one of their friends, “Hey, I’m leaving. You should come in and work here because it set me up, got a two-year window.” And now, they’re starting to see that millennials will come back to the brand. “Hey, I’ve got two years of experience. You guys want me back?” That’s a wonderful setup.
Shane Green: [00:34:02] So, organizations have to be a lot more nimble. They’ve got to be willing to invest in learning and development more. But they can’t be afraid to lose people. So, creating a learning culture, which was one of the big mechanisms I talk about a lot, is critical, I think, to company’s success and everything that they do. How to stand out in the crowd? It used to be that you wanted your product to stand out. Now, you want your employee experience to stand out.
Jill Heineck: [00:34:29] That’s right. And it’s interesting that you say that since my real estate team is under the umbrella of Keller Williams Realty International, and it’s the number one training company. It happens to be in the real estate field. But the whole point is to train people to become business people, to set up themselves for success, so that if they did choose another path that they would still be able to lend those skill sets-
Shane Green: [00:34:56] So true.
Jill Heineck: [00:34:56] … to other things, right? So, I love that big-world mentality. And being inclusive and transparent about that from the get go. And I think companies are missing the boat with super high influential talent by not doing this, right? And-
Shane Green: [00:35:15] So true.
Jill Heineck: [00:35:15] … we’re only two people. We can’t change the entire world ourselves.
Shane Green: [00:35:19] I think we can, Jill.
Jill Heineck: [00:35:20] But we’re going to try.
Shane Green: [00:35:22] What you said, though, is really important. It’s from the get go. Here’s another area that we found that was interesting that companies aren’t doing a good job of. They’re not upfront about what they stand for and what they do. Netflix, the Netflix goes 140-page PowerPoint that they sent out to the world and everyone went, “That’s amazing.” Well, do you know why Netflix did it? They did it because everyone wanted to come and work for them, and they were getting inundated with resumes, and they’re like, “Okay, this is crazy. Let’s make a clear picture of how difficult it is to work for Netflix because not everyone is going to be good at Netflix.”
Shane Green: [00:35:22] And this is what we tell a lot of organizations is not every person who applies for job is good for you. Not every person will be successful with you. And this has got nothing to do with sexual orientation, color of skin or any other bias that seems to sit out there. What it is, is that certain styles and personalities will just fit better in the roles. And again, it goes back to the hiring process is that before they even walk through the door, they should know the expectations of the organization. They should know the type of person they’re looking for, the type of person that was being successful. Unfortunately, for them to hear that, the company needs to know.
Shane Green: [00:36:38] And again, another area that they need to invest in is, how do the people become most successful with us? What is it that they do? And there’s really great companies out there that map traits, characteristics and all that. And it’s what people have inside of them that ultimately, again, does determine their success. And by understanding what makes someone’s insights, and their hearts, and souls, their attitudes successful with your organization is probably one of the most important activities or things that companies need to look at.
Jill Heineck: [00:37:11] I learned a lot about this when I was working with a a high-level executive with a giant media company. He was relocating from Australia to the US, and he had more than one offer. And the company that I was working with that had made him one of those offers had just said to him, “We need to know right away if you’re taking this job, taking this relocation.” And I remember him calling, he told me about this, he called them to ask a little bit more about the relocation benefits and a little bit more about the role that he’d be playing. And the person who took his call said, “You’re just lucky to have our name on your resume. So, we need to know in the next 10 minutes if you’re taking this job or not because we have a line behind you.”
Jill Heineck: [00:37:58] And of course, he did not take that on and uproot his family from Australia and do that giant move. That was the impression that he got from the company before he even took the job. So, I work a lot in trying to assuage those concerns because at one hand, you’re looking at a career track. And on the other hand, you’re like, “What just happened?”
Shane Green: [00:38:20] Yes.
Jill Heineck: [00:38:20] So, it’s just really interesting how that is still going on, even though transparency is becoming more and more rampant, thank God. It’s a giant company still in business today but, apparently, that’s how they treat people.
Shane Green: [00:38:37] And now you go, “That’s their culture.” That’s the hearts and minds. And how companies affect the hearts and minds of people is the biggest determinant of whether they’re going to stick around. A fascinating step from … and again, it’s couple years ago now is that of all the people that will leave a job this year, that will will quit and take this year off because 2020 is just … I don’t know what it is. Let’s say 2019. Half of all people that left the job last year to go to somewhere else quit did so within the first 90 days. Now, think about that, half of all people left. Why? They got into the job, they looked around and said, “Wait up. This is not-”
Jill Heineck: [00:39:16] This isn’t what I signed up for.
Shane Green: [00:39:16] That’s it. You got it. And then, your company would go, “Well, that’s all right. I’ve got someone right behind.” But the cost of hiring them, and locating them, putting them through those first 90 days and missed opportunities is a cost to the company. And it’s a significant one. And that’s why I’m saying so much, and when I do look at culture, the hiring process, the orientation, the onboarding, how they start out really does determine their success.
Jill Heineck: [00:39:47] So, I love what you said in one of your podcast episodes, get behind your people and they will deliver.
Shane Green: [00:39:54] Yeah.
Jill Heineck: [00:39:54] So, let’s circle that around to inspiring teams on once you’re … so, let’s assume our culture is getting there. We’re coming together, we’re gelling. So, talk about the impact on the customer experience and how we’re inspiring. I mean, we all know about these companies who are doing well at that, right? So, Zappos is a customer experience company. They just happen to sell shoes. It’s the easiest thing to do. Amazon, you can return all day long. They make it very easy. So, what other companies have you been working with that you’ve had that success in those areas?
Shane Green: [00:40:35] And again, I have an experience kind of in this lockdown mode that I think is there. So, the company is Dyson, I think, everyone knows the vacuum cleaners.
Jill Heineck: [00:40:44] Getting that today or dryer.
Shane Green: [00:40:44] Well, I was just going to say I did not know they did hairdryers until my wife would go, “Do you know who has the greatest hairdryer in the world?” I go, “Who?” He goes, “Dyson.” I go, “The vacuum guys?” She goes, “The greatest hairdryer.” And I go, “Okay.”
Shane Green: [00:41:04] Now, Dyson has great products, but what sets it apart and why she turned to Dyson was we had a vacuum, something went wrong with it, she called up. She said, “I got a product.” She goes, “I’m going to go through the process,” had no expectations about the customer service or what. She calls up and says, “I’ve got a problem with it.” First of all, she says, “Well, they were the nicest people in the world.” But in the process, the journey that went through, first of all, it was they kind of diagnose what was online, and they’re like, “You know what? It’s going to cost too much for you to send it back to us.” So, that was the first thing. Then, they said, “We’re going to find someone in the local area that can fix it. We’ll have someone, one of our license people.” She goes, “All right. That makes it easy. Fantastic.”
Shane Green: [00:41:49] So, they found that, called her back and says, “Yeah, we found someone about two miles away from you. Are you able to drop it off today?” And she was like, “You know what? I’m kind of busy here.” “Right, we’ll set that up. We’ll come and get the vacuum, get it fixed, and bring it back to you.” She was blown away. And so, she starts to go, “Dyson, Dyson.” Now, all of a sudden, it’s the hair dryer. All of a sudden, you go, “They have great products.” So, I go back to my full Ps – product, place, process, people. They got the product worked out. They got their process worked out. They made it so easy. The people were so friendly. She still talks about it. She goes, “Dyson forever.”
Shane Green: [00:42:28] And what I think is so important is because their products are so good, I don’t think she’s buying another hair dryer in the near future. We don’t have to buy another vacuum. So, it’s not about the traditional sense of loyalty, even though I’m sure over the lifetime, there might be a couple. But the fact that she has told everyone about it is why advocacy today, I think, is the single most important thing that companies should be looking for. Then, she’s told friends, she’s gone online, she’s done everything. That experience, I don’t know how much value they would have got out of it, but it would tell you, it was worth a heck of a lot more than that vacuum. So, that’s an example of them understanding all the areas of their product and kind of putting that together.
Shane Green: [00:43:13] And again, I go back to BMW before, I mean, product, place, process, people. They had the best product or arguably the best product. They had a great product. They have processes. They were a little long. Spending two hours to buy a car is crazy. So, they shortened the process. They tightened it up. The place, they imagine their dealerships. They have coffee bars, snack bars and all of that. And then, they were willing to invest in the culture of the people to turn that experience around. What they they’re able to do is ship their JD Power services. The sales scores went up. They started, now, where they were slipping and eroding, they’ve now fought back. And so, you start to see those components come together really nicely and say, “It’s not just about one or the other,” but the one that often gets forgotten about is the people, and that may be the most important thing.
Jill Heineck: [00:44:02] Right. And what I love about your example with Dyson is that Dyson, clearly, the leadership was empowering them with information, and getting them behind the product, and then getting them excited about how they can serve the customer who, then, benefits from all of this, right, because I’m like your wife. I mean, I’m a slave to Dyson. So, if that happened me, I blasted all over the place and call everybody I know. And I’m still working on convincing a few people. I mean, it is a hefty price tag, but it’s worth it because you know all of this about any event something that happens, you know that there’s customer service there with the experience. And I think it’s huge.
Shane Green: [00:44:42] And I think, I’m not sure if you remember, Bain & Company, in 2015, they did the Elements of the Value Pyramid. And it came out of Harvard Business Review in 2016. And what they would do is they said they they were able to map all the values that consumers really buy into. And there was 30 something, and they mapped them into four categories. It was interesting, out of all the values across any industry they would apply, and the more of those values you hit, the more satisfied your customers would be.
Shane Green: [00:45:13] And I think it’s really important pieces that … I mean, Harley-Davidson is a beast. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to take care of them. John Russell said it. If you know about the customers and what they value in you, then you make sure you do those really, really well. And as a result of that, you can put a high price tag on. It used to be considered high-price tag was a luxury item. No, no, no. The luxury item or the high-price tag is the best valued item, which means if you do more things and cover more of the values that are important to me, you save me time, you’ve got great quality, you’re reliable, you’re friendly, all of these things, you go, “Wow!” You package this up, people will keep doing business with you.
Shane Green: [00:45:57] And it goes back to your customer experience strategy. Do you know the great moments in the journey that are absolutely critical to the customer? Do you know what they value most in that moment? Is it being convenient? Is it efficiency? Is it wow? And then, are you able to apply it? And people often say, “Well, you know what? Creating all these great moments costs a lot of money.” The BMW’s piece. So, BMW, the greatest moment when someone buys a new car is the handover of the keys. That, for a consumer, one, because of the cost. They just probably spent, outside of a house, maybe one of the highest valued items. This is a big moment. Like, “Oh, my gosh!”
Shane Green: [00:45:57] When we looked at it, we would go around car dealerships, it was all, “Yeah. Can you pick up the keys from the reception? Thanks very much.” They’re like, “Ugh.” We started to go one of the moments that was absolutely critical is the handover. So, what did they do? And again, BMW has their little showrooms, they put it. What they did is they put a cover on the car. So, now, when you go in and do it, they do this unveiling moment, a little bit of [crosstalk].
Jill Heineck: [00:47:06] That’s awesome.
Shane Green: [00:47:06] A little bit of [crosstalk]. But do you know what? It makes the moment memorable. And I go back to-.
Jill Heineck: [00:47:13] It’s a celebration.
Shane Green: [00:47:15] Yeah, but they create memories. And I always think [crosstalk]-
Jill Heineck: [00:47:17] Right.
Shane Green: [00:47:17] … stuff about memories and understanding that, really, what we’re all in the business of, regardless of the product, regardless of the thing, it’s to create memories. And you can do it by having a great service call. You can do it by a pickup. You can do it just by the fact that you unveiled something a little more dramatically. That’s what companies have to be willing to do. And if they are willing to do it for the customer, then understand that same unveiling surprise and delight goes for the employees as well.
Jill Heineck: [00:47:48] I love it. I love this. And this is one of the cornerstones of our business. We make every milestone exciting. And then, of course, when we hand over the keys at closing when buying or selling house, we’re very dramatic about it because it’s a milestone in your life. So, we want it to be fun and memorable. But before we go, we have a few more minutes, I want to talk a little bit about Resort Rescue. You know I love that show. And I want to talk. How did how did that come to be? And what was your experience with that?
Shane Green: [00:48:24] Gosh, it was crazy. Literally, a friend of mine reached down and says – they live in LA – “Hey, a producer’s looking for a hotel person to do a show. And I’m meeting all these hoteliers, and they’re really boring, and kind of like very limited in what you’re doing. I’ve had you swear up a storm. Do you want to go in? Would you talk to them?” I talked to them. You do a Zoom, you talk, and you get to talk about experiences, what you believe in, all that. The next day, they had a crew out. We were doing testing in parking lots and all that. And two weeks later, I got this job.
Shane Green: [00:48:57] Again, no aspirations to get on television. Again, so fortunate for a couple of years, we got to go to little resorts. First of all, I got to get to parts of this country that I never would have gone to. Going to little resorts. And, of course, reality television at its best, there is nothing real in reality. And yet, I was determined to kind of do that. And what was amazing, if you go around and I’ve run some huge hotels in the world, and you go to these little hotels and you’re like, “Oh, my God.” You could do this in your sleep. But what was really cool is you get talking to the owners.
Shane Green: [00:49:35] And I mean, you have owners who … I remember a couple, he was in his 80s, she was late 70s, in Colorado. They were talking about their property. They’d bought this as they thought, “Buying a small hotel, this is my retirement dream. This is it.” They hadn’t taken a vacation in 40 years. And listen, they were awesome but, man, they were tired. I went to another hotel, had a war veteran who had inherited the hotel. And with his PTSD, it was stressing him out. It turning them into something he didn’t want to. There was all these stories in it.
Shane Green: [00:50:15] At the end of the day, it was about trying to get the resorts back on track, but it ended up being just about people getting people back on track. And I always go, “That’s really at the heart of hospitality. It’s the heart of everything we do.” You know what? Again, right now in the world, being human, treating others with kindness, and really listening. So, that was what it was. And the thing that you do as a host of a television show is you just got to make sure you ask good questions.
Jill Heineck: [00:50:42] That’s right.
Shane Green: [00:50:43] And I say this, I speak a lot about this. One of the most important things as a manager and owner or anything you have is remember, always be curious. Don’t be afraid to ask the dumb questions. One, because if you’re not curious, you’re grandiose. Grandiose means we know it all. I mean, to me, people that think they know it all, nobody knows anything in the world right now. In Resort Rescue, I had to just ask questions. And when people start to unveil and start to pull the layers back, you find what the heart of the problem is. The heart of the problem wasn’t necessarily the resort needed fixing. It was that the person needed something that they didn’t have a support system for.
Shane Green: [00:51:19] And I think it’s quite apt about what’s happening in the world right now. Listen, everybody, be curious. Just go ask everybody how they’re doing. Go ask them how you can help. Be generous right now. As I said, it’s amazing … we make an assumption that everyone’s just fine because maybe they own a little hotel or they do things. People aren’t. And so, again, asking good questions. But again, we also had a lot of fun on the show. It was crazy what we caught some of the guests doing.
Jill Heineck: [00:51:48] Oh, I bet. I did catch one snippet when you were watching a guest cross the courtyard with her luggage and it fell into the pool. That didn’t look very-
Shane Green: [00:51:58] Yeah, yeah, yeah. The clock came down. And again, it was silly because the resort was spread out. So, you had to walk across this parking lot, and then there was this game area.
Jill Heineck: [00:52:09] Not cool.
Shane Green: [00:52:09] Well, through the pool. So, you’re sending people there. The pool lights were out. And so, the light was out. And it’s something so silly to call something so dramatic.
Jill Heineck: [00:52:22] So true.
Shane Green: [00:52:22] But that’s just that. We make these assumptions, and it’s always in the detail. But it was a fun couple of years with a fun group of people. And as I said, I learned some stuff at it, and I got to go to some pretty cool parts of the world. So, very blessed.
Jill Heineck: [00:52:36] It does sound like fun. I just want to thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We really appreciate your time. Love your insight. I know you and I could talk for hours about this.
Shane Green: [00:52:47] I’ll come back again any time. There’s plenty of stories, but I really appreciate you as well. You’re doing some great work out there. Thanks for bringing us and everyone.
Jill Heineck: [00:52:55] Absolutely. And to everyone out there, thank you so much for listening. I’m proud to share this show with you as these stories prioritize the customer experience as a legit business strategy and reminding us that no matter what business you’re in, whether it’s hospitality, real estate, consulting, the customer experience really should always be the heart of the business. Thanks so much.
Shane Green: [00:53:16] Take care, everyone.
About Your Host
Jill Heineck is a leading authority on corporate relocations, and is highly sought after for her real estate industry acumen and business insights. As a published author, frequent panelist and keynote speaker, Jill shares her experience and perceptions with people from around the globe.
Jill is a founding partner of Keller Williams Southeast, established in 1999, and the founder and managing partner of Heineck & Co. Her real estate practice specializes in corporate relocations, individual relocations, luxury residential, and commercial properties. Jill’s analytical approach to problem-solving, along with her expert negotiation skills and sophisticated marketing, deliver superior results to her clients. Her winning strategies and tenacious client advocacy have earned her a reputation for excellence among Atlanta’s top producers.
While Jill has received many accolades throughout her career, she is most gratified by the personal testimonials and referrals she receives from her clients. Jill’s unwavering commitment to the customer experience, and her focus on the unique needs of each client, serve as the foundation of her success.
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