Ross Shafer Comedian Author and Motivational Speaker
and Motivational Speakers from American Speakers Bureau
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Ross Shafer Interviw

ROSS SHAFER is known as "The Rock Star of Change" because he has lived several different lives. Starting out as a small town pet shop manager, he transformed himself into a SIX-TIME Emmy Award Winning Comedian, writer, and network talk/game show host. In addition to hosting (5) network talk and game shows, he wrote and produced the acclaimed comedy album, "Inside the First Family," a hilarious recollection of the Clinton scandals. And, he wrote the best selling cookbook, "Cook Like A Stud - 38 Recipes men can prepare in the garage with their own tools." Show business made him a student of the human behavior and the human condition. A bona fide expert in the laughter and tears business. So in l994, he began studying how the customer emotional connection can affect organizational growth or extinction. To that end, Ross has written (14) Human Resource training films on customer service, motivation, and leadership. He is the author of NOBODY MOVED YOUR CHEESE!, THE CUSTOMER SHOUTS BACK! and CUSTOMER EMPATHY. His newest book is titled, ARE YOU RELEVANT? An inside look at how smart organizations thrive during today’s economy. Quite an evolution from a guy who started out at a pet shop manager.

If you want to get inside Ross' head, listen to how he answers these questions...

Q: What is a fastest way to innovate new ideas?
A: Go to the "wrong" convention. Every hotel, in every city, is holding meetings 365 days/year. Most of them (on the surface) have nothing to do with your industry. Slip in the back of the room and scribble down best practices from unlikely sources. 90% of the time nobody will ask to see your "badge."

Q: What is a small innovation from a successful company that I can use?
A: Cross pollinate ideas from other industries. Annie’s Hounds in Calgary, Alberta is a dog sitting company. Annie realizes the real customer is the dog so she spends the first 20 minutes talking (exclusively) to the dog and ignoring the owner. Dog owners love this kind of attention and know that Annie will spend a ton of time with their pooch. Annie also borrowed an idea from the scrapbooking industry. After 30 days of dog sitting, Annie presents the owners with a scrapbook filled with photos of their dog playing, sitting, sleeping, eating, and anything else that happened in the life of the dog while he was in Annie’s care.

Q: Why do most businesses fail?
A: They stupidly ignore trends and changes in customer attitudes. Example: The TV industry resisted the move toward unscripted "reality TV" because it threatened to put union actors and directors out of work. But the public wanted it...craved it. And what happened? The major TV networks lost huge market shares to cable channels (and now the Internet) because those entities gave people (the culture) what they wanted.

Q: What incentives do we need to offer our employees?
A: Above all else, you absolutely need to offer a competitive health care plan. This is far and away the #1 item employees say proves the organization cares about them, as people. Because health costs are such a wild card that could wipe out their savings, many people will switch companies for a better health plan.

Q: What kind of customer evaluation forms work the best?
A: The only "eval" forms that give you worthwhile information are the ones that only ask two questions; #1 How likely are you to recommend us to your friends? and #2 What did we do that caused you to give your answer to question #1? This is what smart organizations like the The Staubach Company, Callahan Trucking, and Nordstrom have learned. Evaluation forms that require a lot of time and energy just don't get filled out. Forms that require you to use descriptor words like "Exceed Expectations" "Least Likely" Strongly Disagree" etc are a huge turn-off to customers because they don't use those phrases in their normal vocabulary. Stay simple and let people evaluate you in their own words.

Q: Ross, you say the most important part of the transaction is the end. Why is that?
A: Because the final moment is the emotional trigger point all customers will remember about you. They will recall that moment over all others. Soft drink manufacturers call it the "associative memory" moment. Let’s say you have a great party and everyone leaves feeling great about you. The next time you throw a party, you will subconsciously buy the exact same cups, sodas, chips and dip as the first party in an unconscious effort to replicate the success of the last party. Focus on making the final moment one your customers will remember.

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