There is no other way to say it, so I’m just going to make a statement…I love coffee. I started drinking coffee sometime in my college years for the sole purpose of keeping my hands warm during the seemingly endless Idaho winters. I also fell in love with the ritual of going for coffee (it didn’t hurt that I cherished any excuse to visit with a friend). So rather than writing a “typical” blog post about what’s going on in our company or in the industry, I’ve decided to combine my passion for that delicious beverage and the fascinating people I encounter.  Our Coffee Talk series will be me (or anyone on our team) chatting with someone about anything interesting – and it will always include coffee (or maybe tea – we do have a few Brits on the team)!

Recently, our team had the opportunity to attend a customer service training with John DiJulius from the DiJulius Group ( Our goal to transform the customer support experience is part of our customer service plan. Everyone agreed that it was an amazing day – full of energy, great ideas and ways that will allow us to focus on our customers. Today I sat down, coffee in hand, with Josh Eaton from our Customer Support team to get the details.

Name: Josh Eaton
Position: Director of Customer Support
Years in the beauty industry: 4

Coffee or tea?
I’m a coffee drinker and I even use a big insulated cup I’ve had for years.

Tell us about the picture above.
This is a great selfie of my daughter and me from last summer. We had been riding around on scooters in New Orleans after pool-hopping. That’s a great thing to do in New Orleans when it’s 500 degrees outside.

What do you do when you are not at work?
I try to spend as much time as possible with my daughter, my German Shepard, Eiko, and in my bathing suit! One of the things I love most about living in Louisiana is that I can trade my work clothes for a swim suit nine months out of the year.

OK, so let’s talk a little work, who attended the seminar?
Originally, we had only planned for the staff that regularly interacts with our customers to attend, but we felt like it was such an amazing opportunity, we were able to have everyone in our Hammond campus attend.

Why John DiJulius?
He has been a SalonBiz customer for well over a decade. On top of his customer service and industry expertise, he also has an intimate knowledge of our software. In fact, most of the features that focus on service he helped us create.

What does ‘World-Class Customer Service’ mean to you?
I don’t really have a definition, but I do have some examples. I think about Zappos and their reputation for customer satisfaction. My all-time favorite is the USAA–every single time I call it is an absolute pleasure, and I catch myself ending my calls with them in praise and gratitude. That’s the kind of service we strive towards..

Tell us about the term “secret service” that John uses?
Secret service is essentially gaining knowledge about customers to better serve them. You use the knowledge to anticipate their needs and personalize the service for them, making it something special.

How do you plan to implement what you learned?
We are going to focus on two things: First, we are crafting a customer service vision statement. John helped create one for Starbucks – “We create inspired moments in each customer’s day.” We are working to create one that reflects us, then we’ll eat, sleep and breathe it. Next, we will create a series of “always” and “never” statements. Good examples for salons are always use the guest’s name, never point, always show them how, never say no, and my favorite… always act like a duck -keep calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddle like hell underneath.

Have any secret service tips salons can use?

  1. Focus on a day in the life of a guest. You never know what is going on with your guest before they walk into the salon or spa. This is their time for them to be away at a sanctuary and for the salon to build a connection.
  2. Be a hero. Being a hero to a guest in need can build a lifelong brand evangelist.
  3. Remove policies on how staff are “allowed” to work with guests. This one is probably scary, I know, but John told us a story about how they had a “policy” about not being responsible for lost items. Apparently, they had a real issue with guests leaving valuables in their spa robes. Once they took away the “policy,” they realized all they needed were pocket-less robes. Problem solved and they were able to take down a negative sign that didn’t support their customer service vision.

The bottom line is that secret service systems are low or no cost, do not negatively alter productivity and can make a huge impact.

More about John DiJulius:
Over the past 15 years John has guided Neill Technologies to incorporate “secret service” features into the software. This relationship has been one that we attribute much of our success to. His clients include Ritz Carlton, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Progressive Insurance, Lexus and Harley Davidson – just to name a few. Find out more at