Bryan tells some great stories in this episode and gives some real pearls of wisdom on how you can improve the experience your customers receive.
Dr. Bryan K. Williams is the creator of the acclaimed BW Leadership Academy, the STRONG Leader Institute, the BW Speaker School and the author of four books: Engaging Service, Work Like You Own It, How to Serve a VIP, and Lift Me Higher.
His passions are world-class customer service and strong leadership. Bryan has facilitated workshops and delivered keynotes all over the world for various companies. He speaks on a variety of topics related to service excellence, leadership effectiveness, employee engagement, and organisational improvement.
As a consultant, Bryan works closely with companies to design, develop, and implement sustainable service strategies. His company’s online store includes a growing collection of customer service products that are well-suited for your training library.
Specialties: Service Excellence: Training, Consulting, Auditing, Business
Organisational Design and Culture: Baldrige Coaching
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Note: some of the resources above are affiliate links, meaning I get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase. This all helps fund the show costs.
Episode 31 – Bryan Williams – 23-04-2019.mp3
[00:00:00] Exceeding expectations.
[00:00:02] Episode 31 welcome to this week’s episode we feature Brian Williams an international speaker. He’s worked all around the world and as an author as well and has written a few books such as engage in service work lucky you own it how to serve as VIP and lift me higher. Brian gives them some great information. In this episode and for those of you who have maybe just come to this podcast for the first time exceeding expectations which aims to give you some ideas of ways that you can give your customers a better experience in working with you and every episode we hope you get at least a couple of ideas of things that you can implement in your business if you’d like to find out more about the podcast.
[00:00:52] You can find a Facebook group on on Facebook. Funny enough at this search for exceeding expectations you can go to the website which is exceeding expectations. Me it would be great if you would subscribe to the podcast and this show can really only grow and survive with your help so please tell please share it with your friends. Anyone who thinks that may be interested. So right now we’re going to go to this week’s episode and I should point out we had some major record in issues with this episode and luckily the voice of Brian’s audio is fine so you can hear Brian clear as a bell. I sound like I’m about a million miles away so we had a few recording issues but I hope hopefully it doesn’t impact on your enjoyment of the episode.
[00:01:47] We’re here for another edition of extended expectation and might get. Brian Williams. How are you Brian.
[00:01:53] I’m doing fantastic Tony are you sir.
[00:01:55] I’m very well thank you in your own way in Washington has never hesitated.
[00:01:59] It is actually nice and sunny. I want to say that high is going to be buried in the 60 degree Fahrenheit range somewhere. So I’m very happy about that because of the Caribbean so I like warmer weather. You mentioned before where we reporting that you’ve been over there to England every time I have it’s actually one of my favourite cities in the world when when it was when he asked me what I feel is to go. One of them is Bali in Indonesia so much so that we named our son Bali after Bali. But we also really really like London London because of the diversity that there does the ethnicity the culture.
[00:02:35] So much to do Oxford Street is one of my favourite places to go on.
[00:02:38] Yes and so what. I know that you’re your speaker and you do. So you put on conferences and you are an author. What is it that got you into doing all that and had only been doing this for my own company.
[00:02:52] I’ve been doing this for close to 13 years. Overall over 20 years. But what got me into this was really I got to well both my parents are there in hospitality.
[00:03:02] One my father was into ground transportation and tour operator and so forth and my mom she worked for the airlines at one point then hotels my start came when I was 15 years old and on St. Thomas where I’m from by the way since I went to the U.S. Virgin Islands very small island but a luxury hotel here owner you want to open a brand new property called the Grand Plaza Hotel and was a really really fine hotel and it was posh I mean to the point where he got he got butlers from all over the world to come from down to St. Thomas to trade nuts and world class service excellence.
[00:03:39] I even got a few bottles from Buckingham Palace to come down to help train us on a white glove service and they can see the salads from scratch.
[00:03:46] So when I was 15 years old I got my first job I was there working as a dishwasher and on my first day of work the maitre d didn’t say hello welcome good morning welcome to the team. His first words out of his mouth were I want you to work in this restaurant like you own it. And I thought I was like why in my head I was saying what. And then he said six months from now this restaurant is not better as a result of you being hired and you failed. And that really hit me because I thought I was going to come to work get a job and get paid and go home. I couldn’t do it every two weeks. But what this Maitre D who was from Paris by the way what he was challenging me was that you are not to come and be a one body and blend in the team is either going to be better or worse because of you and your interactions and your contributions everyday is either gonna be better or worse because of you. So that let me know I was a CEO of my job. I was a CEO at six tables in a restaurant.
[00:04:47] So my mother was my restaurant in the restaurant. And that helped me a lot and I moved on I had 17 total jobs and loads of business from dishwasher the busboy to weights and waiter housekeeping to front desk Bellman doormen employee cafeteria you name it. And then eventually I was director of training and development and this is off the Ritz Carlton hotel company and then I was the global corporate director of training and quality for the Ritz Carlton hotel company before I started my business was 13 years ago Wow.
[00:05:18] That’s an amazing progress. You mentioned before that mean when you’ve been in London you’ve been working at places such as the Ritz and the landmark and some other amazing places.
[00:05:28] Yes. Yes I’ve been very fortunate in London for example where some of the hotel owners and executives would call me over to come and assist them with helping them with their service culture ought to be in force or to re ingrain it with their team and their workforce. What service excellence is it to take their calibre of service from greats to world class or from world class to even more world class. And that’s why I specialize in my focus is how in how to take things that are really working well and then elevate them so they become memorable experiences not only for the guests but for those who are working in the environment so what do you find.
[00:06:06] How is it that you’re able to help ourselves. What is it that they generally seem to miss short shot.
[00:06:13] Well first I think is the point of call out that although my background is in hospitality and luxury hospitality specifically the vast majority of my clients are not living in the order of business. Over half are in health care for example hospitals and so forth and have schools and churches and government offices. So the plethora of industries that I’m fortunate to work with not just outside the hotel business but for hotels specifically or restaurants or sports or country clubs or whatever they call me what they really are looking for is how to is how to truly in green and hard wire a culture of service excellence on their team.
[00:06:59] That’s really the big reason with a collaborative specialty. That’s why they really call me how to help them. It helps to have them hardwired so that the habits and the mindset of service excellence are not just happens every now and then sporadically that they happen consistently and your book.
[00:07:19] I mean I’ve been reading your book called work like you own it and the subtitle is 20 ways to go for meetings exceeded your customer’s expectations.
[00:07:28] In your experience what is it that help someone to change from just simply doing the bare minimum to to really only get over it.
[00:07:38] Well I think one of the biggest pieces Tony is that if I am on your team let’s assume that Tony like you said you’re my manager right and I am I am. And I’m a frontline employee and if the intent is for me to work I own it it’s for me to exceed expectations. The key ingredient. One of the key ingredients is I need to feel like you care about me. In other words I need you to treat me the way you want me to treat the customer. Yeah I mean literally in that order I need you to treat me the way you want me to treat the customer. And that part tends to be pushed under the rug or tacitly agreed upon or is maybe dismissed as common sense by a lot of leaders who hear that message.
[00:08:29] Oh yeah we know that already. Oh yeah. We know that already. Happy staff. Happy customer. We know that I read. We read the book and read it. We know. But besides the voracious and the vigorous head nodding they would come on and I say that it doesn’t happen very often. Is it. So if you have an organizational culture say you are a team leader and you want your team to exceed expectations. You want your team to open doors for guests and you want your team to answer the phone within three rings with a smile and you want your team to escort rather than point direction still on the part of the property.
[00:09:02] You have to do those exact same things for your team the exact same things that a variation of them the exact same things. And that part is missing. And if that happens right then you will inspire a team to do that more consistently.
[00:09:20] But also it will create a situation where you are now attracting other people to come onto your team who already think that way because ultimately you can really teach someone you can’t make someone work like they wanted to kind of come with them already.
[00:09:37] The game has to be a seed already in them and that’s what I view it. I think when you think about a great service culture I think you do kind it brings people who have that seed of excellence already in them and your garden your team as a garden. And it has a fertile soil that allows that seed to grow and be fruitful.
[00:09:59] But you don’t make the seed yet and she just put the seed in your garden and put you up to water it every day. The watering is the encouragement the watering is the pruning right.
[00:10:07] But you also have to weed the garden fruit don’t like to grow in gardens where there’s sweets and the weeds are not just the bad employees.
[00:10:17] The weeds or the undesirable behaviours the weeds as you allow people to come late the weed. Did you allow people to not be attentive to the guest. The weeds is doing things halfway. The weeds are people checking their cell phone right into the customer’s face. The weeds as the customer are having to interrupt the staff member to ask a question. People who worked at they own it. People who take pride and passion and exceeding expectations cannot bear. They cannot stand working in an environment where those things are tolerated.
[00:10:51] You see and so how a when you help companies understand that that type of mentality what kind of results I haven’t come to what kind of a dog have you got.
[00:11:04] Oh by and large fortunately about 95 percent of my business is repeat business and referrals. So just from that alone I tell you that I’m very grateful that the message is sinking in.
[00:11:16] But you know. But generally speaking people agree with it. I will say though that there are there are times when you may have seen your leader as a middle manager it’s worse and even frontline staff who are cynical about the message and saying that sounds too good to be true because they may have never been in an environment in a work environment where they’ve seen that type of service excellence culture where the team is happy the customer they’re happy they never live never literally worked in a place like that so they don’t think it exists.
[00:11:48] So a lot of my work sometimes is breaking through the cynicism and the scepticism to show this really can happen and a lot and a lot of that is me modelling it. Well I’m working with them but at the end of the day if a company hires me I’m a consultant right. I’m a speaker I’m a trainer I’m an author. They’re a team as reported to me. They don’t have to. They don’t have to do anything I say. So I tell companies all the time if you don’t hire someone like myself for example make sure that I am not the most excited person about your service culture. You have to be. I can’t be more excited about your service standards than your core values and your mission value.
[00:12:31] And you’re the CEO and so early on before we started recording you mentioned a book that had an impact on you would be the greatest salesman in the world.
[00:12:40] I said yes I want to say it came out in the 1950s or so or 40s but the book has been sold I mean millions and millions of times. And at one point I remember reading that it was the second most widely purchased book after the Bible and that was a year ago but I read the book about five times already and I’ve given out hundreds of copies to friends and colleagues and so on. And it’s changed my life. But it was written by a gentleman by the name of arg. Oh gee it was his first name. Argh. Man Dino you can find it on Amazon or your bookstore. It’s a very popular book. It’s a very small book. It’s really a fable but the fable has a very powerful story in it. And without giving away the story that the book is essentially centred around some scrolls some scrolls that were passed down from generation to generation and how to and how to do it and how to amass massive amounts of knowledge and wealth. But this reading about financial wealth is about just knowledge and so forth and wisdom. You can be a blessing to other people. And one of the scrolls that I love is it’s called the Love scroll. I’m sorry another what is called a persistent scroll and the persistent school is I will persist until I succeed. And as another scroll called the Love scroll it says I will greet each day with love in my heart.
[00:14:03] And when I see until I know your podcast is called exceeding expectations for me when I think about service excellence and what I think about hospitality. And when I think about exceeding expectations for me it goes far deeper than one posting saying May I help you but how can I help you or what can I do for you. It goes deeper than that. To me this whole thing is about one person seeing divinity and another person meaning I don’t care who you are what you look like what your race is what your culture is what your socioeconomic status which a job title is what part of town you’re from what country you’re from but you are a human being you are a person therefore I will assume that you are royalty and because I assume you’re royalty I will treat you as such. That to me is what I’m. That’s really what I’m talking about.
[00:15:06] And so how old were you when you read that book.
[00:15:10] I was in my 30s. I’m 42 years old now.
[00:15:13] So I was probably I want to stay 33 or 34 years old.
[00:15:19] And so how much of an impact the Book Haram tremendous impact.
[00:15:24] Literally I felt like my eyes were closed before I were opened after. And I was just like you Tony. Does that make you. I am an avid reader. So I read all the time right. I’m always reading books. But my favourite book is is is debatable but I’ll let you know about it when I read all the time but that book you know it literally I felt like it opened an additional doorway in my mind that was not as open before is it. So I going to read the book but so many other phenomenal books.
[00:15:58] But the idea is about if you take if if you read it you take care of yourself it becomes much easier to take out other people.
[00:16:09] The more equipped I am the more right the more knowledgeable I am the more fortunate and grateful I feel than I’m in a better position to exult other people who I’m fortunate to exalt with one fortunate to serve one fortunate to honour and when you when you read that would not before you’d written any of your books or did that come afterwards.
[00:16:35] Oh no no. That came after that came after women.
[00:16:38] Women you know.
[00:16:39] Oh my goodness. My first book I want to say came out to thousand five 2006. I’m getting the dates for books. No other work like you would. Well you mentioned that my second book. And then to have ever engaging service. Twenty two ways to become a service superstar work like you own it. That’s the one that you mentioned. The third book is called How to serve the AP. Right. And then the fourth book which came out last year 2018 is called Lift me higher.
[00:17:09] And what got you into writing the first book. How did that come about.
[00:17:14] Yeah. About really. Because. Well first of all I write a lot anyway. I have a newsletter subscribers all over the world who follow me the newsletter and so on. And you know I was writing all these articles writing all these articles and I love to share.
[00:17:29] Right. The purpose statement of my business or my brand is we exist to serve others so they may better serve the world. So I do that through teaching and sharing and consulting and but also writing. Yeah. So as I’m writing I’m thinking well gosh people would love to get all this content in one place.
[00:17:51] So I started to look at my articles and I started to compile them and I started to look at themes and build on the articles and even then she turned into chapters and that’s the first book game.
[00:18:01] What would be your reaction to the book.
[00:18:03] It transcended what I thought. I mean I thought when people who knew me would get it and clients and the friends of family but I started getting e-mails from India and Russia and Australia places that I’d never been to before and telling me how to use in the book and how they use the book every.
[00:18:24] And because each farm my books. Each chapter ends with an activity feeling to do to apply the points in the book. Does the book you have work like you want it there’s like 20 20 different activities. You know each chapter goes and how they use those in their daily huddles in their monthly meetings. And that was just really a validation for me.
[00:18:45] But it also helped me follow my needs and be very grateful that I have information and inspiration that benefits people and they find they can see the practicality and the applicability in it. And they’re seeing differences. They’re seeing a change in how they run their team.
[00:19:07] And it is quite different in that you know as you said about you you’ve got a practical exercises that may at the end of each but what opposite gave you the idea to do that.
[00:19:15] Oh well you know what Tony I’m really really big on things making sense. I mean theory doesn’t that theory is not sufficient for me. In fact so my doctorate I have a doctorate degree and it’s not a PGD it’s a DRM D I was a doctor of management degree and I chose that IDM versus the PJ because the Dems are focussed focus more so on apply and taken the theory and applying it in a real world terms. So creating the realm of the real world applicability to the theory. So I really need to see how something will apply. I don’t want to have to fish through and try to figure out what the lesson here if I’m listening to a speak of I’m reading an article or reading a book. It’s very frustrating for me to figure out what the learning point is. But more importantly what am I supposed to do with information. So I made a point to myself that if I’m going to be doing my keynote I’m writing an article even if I’m doing a linked in post in the oftentimes end with.
[00:20:24] This is a takeaway. So I play the same kinds of to my books. When I do conferences it’s like for example with another world coming up at the end of this month April 25th at 26 in Tucson Arizona. In the States it’s called the Strong Leadership Institute. You leave that event with an action plan. You create an action plan before you leave. And these do the things you are going to do. And then we follow up with you to see how you’re going with the action plan. And then there’s a webinar we do 30 days after a reunion webinar to see how everyone’s doing with their action plans. So I think a real responsibility for anyone who is saying that they’re going to be helping other people is to be committed to following through helping the walking alongside and following through and seeing. I’m here for you. What can I do to help you to help raise the probability that you’ll be successful in this endeavour.
[00:21:20] Is someone listening to this and who’s got their own business and then they haven’t really they’re struggling to survive I was struggling to really compete with their competitors might. What kind of what suggestions would you give them maybe for how they could try to focus on giving their customers a much better experience in order to distinguish to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
[00:21:42] For me I have a different mindset as it pertains to competition and I would say the first thing you ought to do is look to yourself and see that there really is not competition. And in this way in this way there’s no other Tony when you’re right. I mean there may be someone else who has your name but it’s not you.
[00:22:09] No one ever before in the history of the world was you. There’s no other you right now and there never will be another you. So you’re the only you will ever exist.
[00:22:16] There are certain gifts and talents and experiences that you have that no one else in the history of the planet will ever have that makes you extremely rare and valuable in anything and it’s real valuable is called a masterpiece. So you turn your masterpiece because no one else like you. So I think to be distinguishing to stand out right in a competition right. The first thing you must do is recognize what is truly authentic about me what is truly original and unique about me. And that if you’ve ever ashes of that question that may take you days weeks or months to front to find out. Other times people look at other people other businesses and say well all right I’m talking about customer service but so are ten thousand other people. No. If I had that mindset then I wouldn’t have started this business. Right. But my thing is I know for a fact that there’s no one else on earth views customer service the way I do it. I have a different perspective on it. I have a unique perspective that only I can articulate the way I articulate and I know that because no one else is me and that I think I’m going to advantage. I think that’s number one in terms of distinguishing yourself in the marketplace is not recognizing what is your thing. What is your core core core competency in this field. That’s number one. Number two is seeking ways to continuously improve your craft. If I hire you today to do something for me and then I hire you a year from now it should not be the same but they should have been better. I think that’s number two. Continuous improvement I think. I think another way to really distinguish yourself from the competition is to understand and recognize that the number one rule is keep the customer meaning do everything in your power to make sure that customer feels appreciated and exalted and they are not second guessing their decision to give you their money or give you their time. They should never have to wonder like this a good check. In fact even if you charge more than your competitors this should feel good about that because this thing you know what they charge more totally charges more but I know it is a premium price but it’s worth it. So I find a lot of times businesses can fall into the trap of taking their current customers for granted in the pursuit of new customers meaning that they they if they just listen and have a call centre lets it have a business and they and a staff like people to answer phones. Right. And as a phone tree and I said press 1 if you if you have a question about your existing product that you bought from us and press 2 if you are a new customer 9 times out of 10 the line to the new customers is staffed more because they want to agreement than you would have to wait but the existing customer maybe one person who is at the start that line is overworked and they work it or they they’re tyred and that existing customer doesn’t get the same calibre of service as a major problem.
[00:25:31] If you want your new customers to become your existing to become loyal customers you have to treat your new customer like the loyal customers and the will to create loyal customers is by treating each loyal customer. Each customer as told the other only one each customer needs to feel like they’re the only customer even if they know there’s other customers. They know they can see other customers. Each person wants to feel seen and valued and appreciated.
[00:26:03] And that happens at every touchpoint that happens at every visit. I want you as my customer to come back and see me over and over and over and over and over again. I want you to tell your friends and your family that making a choice to compete and that’s my business was the best decision you ever made. I don’t want you to ever second guessed that decision. And you will become my greatest advocate and ambassador in attracting more customers.
[00:26:29] So no one to take care of your current customers.
[00:26:34] Nothing should ever trump that are you working on another book. Met Brian Not explicitly but because I’m always because when I was writing I was sure one is being formed.
[00:26:49] I still want to be fall but I can tell you right now. But like I said when this came out last year this is my first leadership book. The other three the first three books are service excellence books.
[00:26:58] This last one is a leadership is one of the leadership devotional actually but I’m I’m pretty sure there’s more there’s more coming right.
[00:27:07] Okay. And if people want to find out more about you and what you do where would be the best place to go.
[00:27:13] Of course you got to be w enterprise dot net. So that’s BW.
[00:27:19] As Brian Williams BW Enterprise dot net and that can give them information on my background what I offer books I’m in store we have books. You also have about eight different posters though essentially there are there were poems that I turned into 18 by 24 posters and a little Mac conferences and a speaker school we have we just started online in six week Speaker school and that’s to help people senior leaders and busy professionals figure out ways to how to monetize their expertise to start a speaking business. We teach about how to brand themselves market themselves not to set their fees and so on.
[00:27:58] So that’s exciting and that you mention is that mostly people in faith with that kind of international.
[00:28:07] Is there anyone can do it because it’s the online program. So we actually do this tomorrow evening once every Wednesday evening we meet but that’s a life class. We do it once a week for one hour but all the sessions are recorded and anyone has access to those.
[00:28:25] If they register for their classes to have a private linked forum and then we also have chicken calls we can schedule one on one time with me to kind of go through your unique situation no matter where in the world you are.
[00:28:37] Fantastic. Well Brian it’s been a real pleasure speaking to you we’ve we had some major technical difficulties in trying to get this episode down but we’ve eventually done it and it was a gave some great advice.
[00:28:47] He goes so thank you for your help. Oh absolutely. My pleasure. Want to thank you Tony for watching out and thank you for your persistence in making this happen and I feel like you’re adding a tremendous value that I was not only to your listeners but to the world as I think whenever you’re offering information that can energize people and equip them to think that they’re going to play not only in their professional lives with their personal life. It’s a win win for everyone. Absolutely. Thank you very much Brian. It’s my pleasure. Thank you.
[00:29:22] Next week episode 32 is with Danielle Roberts. She formed a company called Boomer benefit. She may be familiar with the phrase baby boomers and in the United States there’s around 10000 10000 people per day turn 65 and are eligible for Medicaid Medicare. Medicare is apparently quite a complicated procedure. Danielle Daniels company helps people navigate this whole procedure and make it far easier. And she tells us many of the ways that she differs from her competition in the way that she goes about this. So that’s next week’s episode of exceeding expectations. Hope you enjoyed this week’s show. Please do leave us a review maybe subscribe and once again the show really can only grow and survive with your help. That would be great if you can sell others share the episode with others and hopefully other people will listen and we can grow. We can get better and better guests and give you more information. Hope you have a fantastic week. See you next week.