Dr. Joseph A. Michelli: Keynote speaker, Best selling author, & organizational consultant

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., is an internationally sought-after speaker, author, and organizational consultant who transfers his knowledge of exceptional business practices in ways that develop joyful and productive workplaces with a focus on the total customer experience. His insights encourage leaders and frontline workers to grow and invest passionately in all aspects of their lives. Dr. Michelli is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Nielson Bookscan and New York Times #1 bestselling author. His latest book is Leading The Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customer, Your Products, and Your People and he currently is working with Mercedes-Benz USA on a book tentatively titled Driven to Delight which will be released in 2015. Joseph’s other titles include The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire Engage and WOW, Prescription for Excellence: Leadership Lessons for Creating a World-Class Customer Experience from UCLA Health System, The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary, The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace which was co-authored with the owner of the "World Famous" Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.

How did you get into the industry?

I was working as a “customer experience elevation” consultant before we had a name for it! In the old days, we talked about customer service but we knew there was more to connecting with customers than getting products and services right. Having received my PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California, I went from working as a clinician in a hospital to offering organizational development consulting, training, and leadership development for the healthcare system where I was employed. From there, several fortuitous opportunities launched me into the customer experience consulting/speaking/ writing business I oversee today.

Any emerging industry trends?

In the world of customer experience elevation we have so many hot topics - not least of which are:

•    Leveraging big data to create relevant and “craveable” customer experiences

•    Effective metrics for garnering customer feedback

•    Developing cultures of customer experience excellence

•    Decreasing customer effort

•    Blending relevant technology AND high-value human service moments

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Most business leaders are trying to differentiate themselves through the experiences they offer their customers.  Unfortunately, few brands are succeeding in those efforts. That is both good and bad news. It is good news because there is a lot of opportunity to win the hearts and minds of customers through a well-executed and differentiated offering. It is bad news in that it is often difficult for business leaders and managers to be one of the successful brands without a little help or guidance.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

We continue to help our clients drive operational excellence in customer experience delivery. Additionally, we focus on decreasing the effort of their customers, and improving the skills of their people to forge emotional connections. We limit our clientele so we can offer our customers the personalized service we help them deliver to their customers.

From the perspective of our speaking business, we work closely with our clients to build content that meets their desired outcomes from the perspective of education, benchmarking, inspiration, entertainment, and the activation of knowledge.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We are looking to share the knowledge we’ve acquired working with “world-class” customer experience brands like Starbucks, Zappos, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and Mercedes-Benz with a select group of leaders and, as such, we plan to offer an exclusive mastermind group.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

We continue to focus on writing consistent quality content (in short and long format), assessing the needs of prospective and existing clients, using and expanding our solutions toolkit, and being life-long learners.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

In truth, we have been blessed by a fairly steady tailwind. Like any business, global economic factors can affect our clients’ speaking and consulting budgets but we’ve learned the importance of focusing on “value” and not price and having a diverse portfolio of offerings.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

We commit to deliver world-class consulting, keynotes, training, business books, and other tools for individuals who are committed to deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences.

In the process, we strive to treat people like beloved bosses whose lives we want to make successful, relaxed and joyful.

How do you motivate others?

I seek to listen, empathize, add value, and coach people based on their strengths and opportunities for growth.

Career advice to those in your industry?

The best career advice I ever received is to be humble, eager to learn, look for the positives, and focus on the needs of others. I think that advice transcends all industries and is much needed in our world today.