Joseph Michelli

Business Consultant and Organizational Psychologist

  • Bestselling author of five books, including The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary
  • Featured on television programs such as The Glenn Beck Show and CNBC’s On the Money
  • Delivers the tools that businesses need to create joyful, memorable, and meaningful experiences for both their customers and employees

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., C.S.P., 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 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 The Airbnb Way: 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging. Joseph’s other titles include Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes Benz Way, Leading The Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customer, Your Products, and Your People, 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.

Joseph holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association (NSA). He is a member of the Authors Guild, an editorial board member for the Beryl Institute's Patient Experience Journal (PXJ), and is on the founders' council of CustomerExperienceOne. Other achievements include winning the Asian Brand Excellence Award and being named as one of the Top 10 thought leaders in Customer Service by Global Gurus. He received his master's and doctorate from the University of Southern California. 

Having journeyed with a close family member through a six-year battle with breast cancer, Dr. Michelli is committed to social causes associated with curing cancer and abating world hunger.

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WORLD-CLASS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – EXCELLENCE THROUGH PEOPLE, PRODUCT, AND PROCESS. You are not alone in wanting to deliver outstanding customer experiences. According to Forrester Research, customer experience elevation is on the strategic priority list of 92% of businesses. Despite that prioritization, consumer satisfaction continues to decline. This presentation outlines the difference between companies that “aspire to” and those like Mercedes-Benz USA that “execute to” deliver customer delight. It outlines the importance of leadership vision and approaches to inspire customer-centricity for everyone who represents your brand. Moreover, the presentation offers practical tools on how to integrate technology with human service delivery to create a unique, special bond with your customers.

SERVICE OR EXPERIENCE? DEFINING YOUR WAY WE SERVE™ STATEMENT. Let's face it: the wants, needs, and desires of your customers are constantly changing. In this presentation, Dr. Michelli distinguishes between product, service, and experience-based strategies for acquiring, retaining, and driving referrals from your customers. Leveraging key principles from customer experience design technology, Joseph shows the importance of crafting a Way We Serve™ Statement, which helps staff members understand the nature of the optimal experience you seek to deliver. In this keynote, Dr. Michelli also demonstrates how to make cost-conscious decisions that drive customer loyalty and increase customer spend.

SERVICE SERVES US™ - THE POWER OF OTHERNESS. No company makes money or stays in business unless they serve the needs of others. Moreover, "crave-able" customer experiences drive consumer loyalty. Conservative estimates suggest it costs six times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. By offering solutions to address stated and unstated customer needs, you increase your customers' desire to spend more money at your business. In this keynote or workshop, Dr. Michelli discusses ways to innovate solutions that will enhance the life of the customer, such that existing customers spend more and increase their referrals to your business. By identifying the drivers of loyalty, Dr. Michelli helps audience members understand how to allocate limited financial and staff resources for maximum customer experience return.

THE ART OF SERVICE PROFESSIONALISM. Who is responsible for creating compelling experiences that draw customers? The short answer is everyone in the business! Dr. Michelli's presentation challenges each audience member to take ownership of the experiences they provide to assure long-term viability. By making distinctions involving varying levels of employee engagement (owners, renters, and squatters), Dr. Michelli helps redefine the role of every employee as an "equity generator." He demonstrates that every employee affects the engagement level of colleagues and contributes to positive or negative customer experiences. Dr. Michelli shows how a single employee can change a culture, lift morale, innovate breakthrough products, create customer evangelists, and even save a business. This inspirational presentation is an impassioned yet optimistic call for strong action in rapidly changing times. It is a call for rock-solid execution of customer service standards.

CUSTOMER LOYALTY: DRIVING EASE AND ENGAGEMENT. The drivers of customer loyalty are changing! Consumers no longer stay loyal to brands that simply satisfy them. Increasingly, customers churn because brands are difficult to do business with and/or those brands don’t develop emotional or lifestyle connections with them. In this customer loyalty presentation, Dr. Michelli looks at best practices from brands like Mercedes-Benz USA, Zappos, and Starbucks as they forge emotional connections at high-value touchpoints. He also demonstrates how an entire workforce listens to the voice of customers and looks for ways to remove pain points and enhance delight. This presentation also explores the role of employee loyalty to customer loyalty and the leadership behaviors needed to achieve both.

TRANSFORMING YOUR CULTURE TO DRIVE CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT, LOYALTY, AND REFERRALS. A Harvard Business Review research article suggests that customer experience initiatives are failing because they are not grounded in cultures of service excellence. In "Transforming Your Culture," Dr. Michelli looks at how brands like Mercedes-Benz USA create a compelling vision of change urgency, align leaders in pursuit of tangible customer experience objectives, offer technology and process tools to delight customers, and change the internal conversation to discuss the business from the customer’s vantage point. If you are seeking a fundamental shift toward true “customer-centric” execution, this presentation will offer a roadmap and tools for transformational change!

CHANGE OR DIE! SECURING MAXIMUM INNOVATION AND STAFF ENGAGEMENT. This presentation examines the primary drivers of change in the technological age. It demonstrates ways to establish flexible service and quality standards while encouraging the sharing of unique ideas and talents of employees. By making important leadership distinctions between "being" and "doing," Dr. Michelli offers a fun yet practical approach to infusing greater employee vitality, ownership, and fun. This presentation helps participants utilize essential strategies for seizing opportunities in a rapidly changing world.

THE ROAD TO PRACTICAL INNOVATION. Innovation is a daunting word. In this presentation, Dr. Michelli demystifies the innovative process. By exploring the inside (ideas of staff) and outside (benchmarking other businesses) lanes, Dr. Michelli demonstrates how your business can gain a competitive advantage in creative product development and service delivery. Dr. Michelli shows how to effectively elicit and implement staff-generated ideas while also looking for best practices both inside and outside of your industry. This presentation also offers structured and advanced innovation strategies that lead to results-based breakthroughs.

LEADERSHIP - THE ART OF LASTING SIGNIFICANCE. From Dr. Michelli's perspective, leadership involves engaging people to do the right things to profit people. While much research has been done on leadership success principles, Dr. Michelli focuses on two unifying aspects of leadership greatness - positive influential communication skills and the ability to develop leaders who develop leaders. Utilizing a leadership legacy model, Dr. Michelli helps managers and leaders understand the importance of finding ways to engage what is likable about those they lead. Further, he guides leaders in the process of understanding that their influence is shaped by both their effort and by the scope of leaders they develop. "Leadership - The Art of Lasting Significance," takes participants through a process to define their own personal "Leadership Legacy Statement."

LEAVE YOUR MARK. "Why do you come to work?" That fundamental question is the foundation for a presentation that analyzes the transformational power of work and service. By shifting the focus away from the task nature of work to the purpose of a person's job choice, Dr. Michelli helps participants ignite their passion and calling for their work. Dr. Michelli guides employees at all levels of the organization to understand how they can do more than transact business. Instead, he shows how they can develop their gifts and talents in service of powerful transcendent goals.

THE AIRBNB WAY – 5 LESSONS FOR IGNITING GROWTH THROUGH LOYALTY, COMMUNITY, & BELONGING. In 2007, the founders of Airbnb had a roommate move out of their San Francisco apartment. In an effort to pay rent, they placed air mattresses in a spare room and created a website where they listed the sleeping space. Within a decade, the company was valued at 38 billion dollars. In this presentation, Dr. Michelli outlines the process of creating a 21st-century customer experience which is technology-aided and human-powered. He offers tools for disrupting or averting disruption by creating customer belonging, designing for trust, and maximizing team member and customer empowerment.

DRIVEN TO DELIGHT - DELIVERING WORLD-CLASS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE THE MERCEDES-BENZ WAY. Many businesses were not created on a customer experience or customer service foundation. They started from a founder’s passion for a given product or industry. These types of businesses might have innovative products, operational excellence, and even great marketing. What they often lack is a consistent and emotionally engaging customer experience that lives up to their product quality. In Driven to Delight, Dr. Michelli looks at how an iconic brand with the motto “best or nothing” set sights on being one of the world’s best customer experience providers. Moving from the middle of the pack among luxury automobile manufacturers on customer satisfaction surveys toward levels that rival a brand like The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, leaders at Mercedes-Benz USA created a compelling transformational vision while aligning and mobilizing people, processes, and technology. If you are on a cultural journey to be Driven to Delight, this message will inform and resonate!

LEADING THE STARBUCKS WAY - 5 PRINCIPLES FOR CONNECTING WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS, YOUR PRODUCTS, AND YOUR PEOPLE. Let's assume you have an engaged workforce and a consistent experience that drives staff and customer loyalty. How will you sustain and build on that success? For example, how does your business remain relevant to your existing customers while continually developing products that attract diverse customer segments? In Leading the Starbucks Way, Dr. Michelli touches upon key drivers that led to Starbucks meteoric success. He also emphasizes actionable takeaways born from the wisdom of Starbucks leaders as they leverage technology, mobilize the interpersonal connection through social media, expand offerings into the consumer product goods space, and increase sustainability and global relevance. If you are looking for lasting success built on a passion for product and people, Leading the Starbucks Way is for you.

THE ZAPPOS EXPERIENCE - 5 PRINCIPLES TO INSPIRE, ENGAGE, AND WOW. Culture, culture, culture! This presentation highlights tools that have created a rich and unorthodox service culture at Zappos. Against all odds, this online business (known primarily for selling shoes in playful and emotionally engaging ways) has revolutionized social media strategies, developed an environment which has earned it a consistent spot in the top ten of Fortune magazine's best places to work, created zealous fans, and attracted as a purchaser for more than $1.2 billion. In this keynote or workshop, Dr. Michelli outlines the five principles leaders and frontline workers can use to "zappify" enduring success (Serve a Perfect Fit, Make it Effortlessly Swift, Step Into the Personal, S T R E T C H, and Play to Win). It's time to integrate (not balance) work and fun. It's time to benefit from the unique and effective employee and customer engagement techniques of Zappos!

PRESCRIPTION FOR EXCELLENCE - LEADERSHIP LESSONS FOR CREATING A WORLD-CLASS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FROM UCLA HEALTH SYSTEM. Imagine running a business that requires the innovation of Apple, the commitment to the safety of NASA, and the customer service of The Ritz-Carlton. Further, imagine your mandate demands you are a world-class educator, your work product holds life and death in the balance, and you are responsible for discoveries that shape the future of medicine. That is the charter of the UCLA Health System. As such, UCLA tackles a diverse set of challenges faced by most businesses. Borrowing from transformational leadership at UCLA, Dr. Michelli outlines lessons on how to catapult your business to preeminence at an unusually rapid pace, transform the satisfaction and engagement of your customers through a service-centric approach, achieve enviable profitability during economic downturns and re-design, elevate, and humanize your customer experience. Through the context of business principles like Commit to Care, Make the Best Better, and Create the Future, Dr. Michelli offers insights about elevating service excellence by consistently executing against the highest service standards.

THE NEW GOLD STANDARD - LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES FOR CREATING LEGENDARY CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES. In this presentation, Dr. Michelli examines how to deliver legendary customer experiences such as those consistently offered by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Zappos, and Starbucks. The New Gold Standard presents cutting edge leadership strategies for selection, training, and retention of the "right" staff. It demonstrates how leaders and frontline workers can drive staff engagement and ownership behavior that ultimately produces transformational customer experiences. Expounding on leadership principles such as "Define and Refine," "It's Not About You," and "Leave Your Mark," this presentation examines ways to keep your service relevant to changing customer needs and shifting economic times.

THE STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE - 5 PRINCIPLES FOR TURNING ORDINARY INTO EXTRAORDINARY. By strategically executing on the details of the internal and external customer experience, Starbucks has become an employer and coffee provider of choice. Truly, Starbucks has become a name synonymous with coffee itself. While most people see Starbucks as a coffee company that serves people, its success is based on the inverse. It is a people company serving coffee. In this keynote or workshop, Dr. Michelli shows frontline workers and business leaders how to "stage" and perform on their brand's promise. He analyzes the importance of identifying a desired emotional connection with the customer and helps participants see the important distinction between "good" and "bad" profit. Using principles like "Make it Your Own," "Surprise and Delight," and "Embrace Resistance," Dr. Michelli shows how to create the ultimate customer experience. Lights, camera, action! Your experience awaits.

WHEN FISH FLY - LESSONS FOR CREATING A VITAL AND ENERGIZED WORKPLACE. Dr. Michelli helps you create a unique and durable experience that energizes employees and draws customers — excerpting from his book of the same name, Dr. Michelli reels in the complete fish story behind the World-Famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle (where they are known for throwing fish and engaging antics). In this keynote or workshop, Dr. Michelli examines core principles like "Commit It," "Be It," and "Coach It," which create a market's uniquely vital and creative culture. This culture leads to excellent customer service, legendary employee morale, a fun and dynamic work environment, and ultimately makes a "World Famous" difference in the lives of those they serve. This presentation offers a cohesive strategy for achieving world famous results for owners, managers, frontline workers, and customers alike. If Pike Place Fish can achieve world fame from a small storefront, with zero advertising in a smelly, physically arduous profession, just think about what is possible for your company!

THE MINDCHAMPS WAY – HOW TO TURN AN IDEA INTO A GLOBAL MOVEMENT. Based on the global growth of MindChamps (Singapore’s premier pre-school), Dr. Michelli outlines the importance of a clear leadership vision, values-based service delivery, and an unwavering commitment to the success of those you serve. In this presentation, Dr. Michelli offers tools for driving an “open mindset” to foster leadership and frontline growth. He also provides a model for challenging convention, prototyping new offerings, and expanding the impact of your business.

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