Jan. 10, 2022

Ron Kaufman

In this first episode of 2022 of the Life Science Success Podcast, I am honored to be joined by Ron Kaufman. Ron is one of the world’s most sought-after educators, thought-leaders, and keynote speakers on customer experience and service culture development. Ron has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review, and for years Global Gurus has ranked him as the #1 customer service guru in the world.

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In this first episode of 2022 of the Life Science Success Podcast, I am honored to be joined by Ron Kaufman. Ron is one of the world’s most sought-after educators, thought-leaders, and keynote speakers on customer experience and service culture development. Ron has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review, and for years Global Gurus has ranked him as the #1 customer service guru in the world.

Please check out our Life Science Success Resources.  You will find tools that will support growing companies and books for authors I have interviewed.  


Ron Kaufman - Customer Service



Don Davis PhD, MBA: Hello, and welcome to the first episode of the life science success podcast for 2022 for everyone that doesn't know me, my name is Don and I'm the president and principal of 5280 life sciences. We help companies scale by helping them manage complexity and increase their performance. So in this first episode, I wanted to just take a little bit of an opportunity to thank our listeners according to FeedSpot.

The life science success podcast is now in the top 10 podcasts for our [00:01:00] category. And that comes as a part of all of you, everybody that watches the podcast live as we're recording it, uh, as well as those people that they go out and download the episodes afterwards. So thank you very much. I was actually notified about this

before the end of the year. And, uh, you know, with this being our first podcast of the year, I thought it would be a great opportunity, uh, to announce to everybody that we're in the top 10. So let's jump into our first topic today. Um, I'd like to welcome. Our guest Ron Kaufman, uh, Ron is, uh, is overall a guru in customer service.

Uh, he has been rated by global gurus multiple years as the number one. He's also, uh, one of the most sought after educators and thought leaders around customer experience. And so for any of you that have products that go out to customers, Pretty much as everybody, um, you know, [00:02:00] Ron, Ron deals with a topic that's very close and near and dear to all of us.

So with that welcome.

Ron Kaufman: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here with you, Don. Congratulations on being in the

Don Davis PhD, MBA: top 10. Yeah, thanks so much. It's uh, it's been quite a journey, you know, I don't, I don't normally watch metrics and, uh, um, you know, when I got the announce. I kept getting the question from, uh, the feed spot CEO.

Hey, are you going to, are you going to mention it on your podcast? And, and I kept saying yes, but I kept looking for that sort of perfect opportunity. And this episode definitely was, it was one that I wanted to use that for. So Ron, I mean, there's a lot that I could say about you. Um, you know, overall you've written something like 15 books, you've spent a career in service and, um, I know I've watched an awful lot of your presentations.

I'm very curious to learn what got you into this line of work.

Ron Kaufman: Well, [00:03:00] Major impetus for that was in 1990. So 31 years ago. Now when the country of Singapore, small Asian island country, uh, at the time three and a half million people was going through an economic upheaval in that low cost manufacturing left the island and all went to.

And low cost data processing and call centers left. The island all went to India now since migrated to other places around the world. But you can imagine, what do you do if you are Singapore to continue to be viable and valuable in the world? Now it has a great geographic position as a port and has for a long time, but with three and a half million people, how do you move up the value?

And many of the people here, the adults who are in the working population had been well-trained to work in factories and in a factory environment. What you want to do is avoid mistakes and follow process. So six Sigma and zero defects and things like that. We're very strong [00:04:00] in the culture, but as you move up the value chain, they saw that service and service says legal education, financial convention, hospitality, research, supply chain, all the things that Singapore is known for today.

Customers change their mind. People need different re different solutions. And so the population needed to be educated, to become more proactive, more responsive, more collaborative, more creative with always an eye and an ear towards. What do I do? That will be more valuable for somebody else? Well, that's the definition of service.

I wrote action. That creates value. And so I came here for a week and a week, became a month and a month, became a year and it's been 31 years.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: And next thing you know, you're living there.

Ron Kaufman: They wouldn't have been living here. Well, it's funny that you say living here because before COVID I spent most of my time on airplanes,

but no, I'm quite happily living and [00:05:00] working from here in my home

Don Davis PhD, MBA: office. Yeah, it's funny because, uh, I, my, my passport used to look like a Gideon Bible is how I would tell people, you know, that's how I would describe it. And, uh, it was one of the, one of the things that I used to tell people was probably one of the most unfortunate things, you know, overall.

And now that you can do so much virtually. You know, I actually like it because my passport doesn't look like that. So, um,

Ron Kaufman: but yeah, it looks like somebody who sleeps on the same pillow every night and that's a nice change.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah, I do. I have had some great fun with people that travel with me though, because of, uh, you know, just getting to understand kind of the rhythms of travel and things like that.

And, um, And it leads me kinda to the first question related to, um, to, you know, service is, have you seen service change now that it's less in person and more virtual? And you're the one [00:06:00] maybe quick example that I would give is. I typically don't go into Starbucks anymore and set in there to drink a cup of coffee.

Um, however, I do still occasionally have a cup of coffee from Starbucks and it normally comes through the app. So I pull up the app on my telephone and, uh, what amazed me in my recently. Is that they called me by name, similar to what they would do, normally, whatever they would hand you, your cup of coffee.

And, um, I noticed the change. And so, you know, I'm just curious what you're starting to notice in terms of virtual versus, you know, wive interactions with regards to service.

Ron Kaufman: Well, it's a huge terrain that you've opened up there for conversation. I would say that, uh, let's start with some fundamentals.

Service is taking action that creates value for someone action that someone else doesn't value is called waste. Anybody in a manufacturing environment understands that in a service environment, we should understand that as [00:07:00] well. So then the question is what is it that people have valued in this pandemic era when there's less face-to-face and there's less interaction.

And of course we've seen the cloud-based world, the app based world, the mobile based world just basically explode. And you gave one example of. Now, you also pointed your finger at that interface between the human and the AI enabled service capabilities. And we're at the earliest stages of that right now.

So you realize that you know where we are with Siri, being able to recognize your voice, but still make spelling mistakes or Starbucks. Rick calling that because you use the app, they know it's you, and they're going to call you by name. Um, I would tease a little bit and say, well, when they actually handed you the drink where they also playing the music that you love in the morning.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: No, not yet. Not yet. Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, yeah, I mean, and in your way of describing service, you described six [00:08:00] levels of service. Uh, maybe we should start, you know, just maybe backing up to those six levels because I think, you know, it gives everybody kind of a foundation of, of, you know, your perspective on.


Ron Kaufman: well, let's be clear what it is that I invented when we talk about the six levels of service, most people will go through their academic education and never actually have a class on service. It's considered something for the tourism and the hospitality department, or maybe it's a. And yet with a definition that says services, taking action to create value for someone, then you realize that the assessment, the calibration of value is not from the service provider, it's from the someone that's being served.

So then we need a language to be able to articulate clearly across internal and external service providers or my case, let's say universally, that would help us understand what was the experience of service that the recipient. Received. Now that can be a colleague [00:09:00] between departments. It could be somebody who's a distributor, a part of your reseller network, or it could be the end customer.

And so these six levels I articulated in the following way, the lowest level is you broke your promise. You didn't deliver the bare minimum. It's terrible. It's awful. I call it. Like to make a little joke out of it. And there's even a way to say it. I have people put their hands together, like handcuffs criminal.

One step up is when you deliver the fundamentals, but the experience wasn't nice. So it came late or it was incomplete or the delivery was impolite, right? You might've gotten your drink at Starbucks, but it took a long time. It wasn't quite the temperature you liked and they didn't call you by name, but you got your drink.

I call that. Then there's another level, which is called expected and expected is when you meet the service level agreement, when you hit the standards, nothing special. And it one step above that is what I call desired when you serve someone the way they [00:10:00] like it. So I'm not sure on your app yet that you've actually got the ability to just press the one.

Yes. Yes. Like that the app should already know what you like, what size what's in it, et cetera. Now you're going up and not just getting what's expected. You're getting, Ooh, that's the way I like it. A level above that is called surprising. Now, the only way that you can serve somebody at a surprising level is if you understand what they value and you come up with an idea or an action that they did not already request, and you take that action and therefore produce value that it's sort of surprising.

And one more level above that since you asked about the six is called unbelievable. And that's the astonishing, the extraordinary, the kind of story that goes viral. And there's one last piece about this Don that the viewers and listeners need to understand. The six levels of service are not describing what you say about your service.

It's what the recipient's experiences, what they say about your service. And the six levels are not. Right. It's not stairs. It's an [00:11:00] escalator going down because what was unbelievable the next time is not unbelievable. It's a nice surprise. You did it again. Then it becomes you desire before you know it it's expected, then it's just basic one day, if you don't do it, criminal and there's.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah. And so in your view, who has this, right? I mean, who, you know, who has, you know, kind of, you know, the top levels of service right. In a virtual world, I would say maybe we start there and then we can go back to a physical world.

Ron Kaufman: Well, there are a lot of leading organizations today, whether it's apple in terms of the ecosystem that they've created with their devices and various services, or if you look at the quality of the online e-commerce experience with something like amazon.com.

Pretty extraordinary. Um, and these are just two of the leading brands, but there's so much more innovation going on in that particular space. What's intriguing is [00:12:00] how do startups get into these various spaces and succeed? And it isn't by trying to compete, head to head with everything. Is trying to find some niche area in which your particular contribution creates an extraordinary, unique or distinctive value.

So for example, this podcast is called life sciences success. So you've chosen a very specific niche and any questions you want to take us in that direction, I'm happy to.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Great. That's a fantastic lead in, I mean, overall, whenever, um, I think about a lot of the companies that are out there that are having to directly interact with customers on a routine basis.

I mean, they're doing it in, uh, in healthcare, you know, in an area that a lot of us are probably much more sensitive to right now. And so in, in starting, um, to think about having. A, let's just say unbelievable customer experience. How would somebody go [00:13:00] about sort of taking those initial steps? What, what would, where would they start?

Ron Kaufman: Well, the first thing is to recognize that one of the words that you used is now completely obsolete. When you said routine interaction with customers, today's world, there's no longer a routine. You can say, this is the way we've done it. But you have to raise the question today. Is this the best way that we should continue to do it?

What else could we, or should we consider doing differently? How can we collaborate more closely? How can we work in a way that gives you greater flexible? What is it that your customers want or need or curious about that we could be able to innovate in and create additional value? What is it? That's a legacy practice that is no longer delivering the value that it used to when it was first introduced, but we haven't yet eliminated.

And then that's an example of the waste that I was pointing to earlier. So I would say the most important practice today is to be curious is to Jen, but genuine, curious, Where you're interviewing the people who you serve and asking them, [00:14:00] what is it about what I'm doing that you really want, need and appreciate.

I want to be sure that I continue doing that. What is it that we're doing that you don't want need or appreciate that can help us skinny that down? What would you like us to be doing that? We're not yet. Let's get creative and brainstorm together. What else might we do together would ultimately produce a better experience for you because you are also a service provider to someone else, unless you are ultimately the end customer, even in a healthcare space, by the way.

And one of the nice things about COVID is I've done an enormous amount of work in the past year now in the medical space here and the healthcare space here in Singapore, because I've been in Singapore rather than flying all over the planet, is that every single person who's a. Also lives in an ecosystem of caregivers and often they are the caregiver to someone.

So we may have some wonderful pharmaceutical breakthrough or some, some AI enabled capability, but it's not always clear that the patient by themselves is [00:15:00] going to do full implementation of that. So the entire ecosystem of medical service providers and patients and patients, environment, family members, next of kin the entire neighborhood and friends population that becomes the area where life sciences now needs to focus even more.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah. And I mean, I guess one of the things that I would come back to, so, you know, I too have had quite a few clients that, uh, that have come along due to COVID and just wanting to explore their customer practices a little bit more. And what surprised me. In my sort of discussions and I'm by far, nowhere near as highly rated as, as you are in terms of, you know, your service guru, you know, expertise is, um, this idea of force.

The customer journey on the customer. And so, you know, I had one particular client that essentially said, Hey, look, this is what we want to do. We want to provide, uh, you know, results to [00:16:00] the customer, you know, within, you know, hours or minutes of getting the diagnostic. And essentially the customers were saying, Hey, look, I need the answer.

When it, when I turned to go. I don't want it forced on me. I, you know, I don't want you messaging me. I don't want you, you know, sending me all sorts of information about the fact that it's ready and, um, you know, but whenever I opened my app on my phone or I, you know, go to my computer to go log in, I want the information to be there and essentially.

This company kept saying, but we want to provide it to you

Ron Kaufman: because in our world we think immediate notification must be valued by everybody else. And there's a great example where they will set for themselves an internal KPI of notification with an X number of hours, and then they'll hit it and they'll pat themselves on the back, but they will lose market share because customers are over here saying you didn't give me the choice.[00:17:00]

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Right. Right. So I guess that leads me back to another question though. Um, how do you get, what I would say is the real customer's voice so that it's not overridden one by clients of yours or to, um, you know, it's not, um, you know, also sort of formed in the way that they, that the client wants it to be.

Right. So how do you, how do you get back to that? Very basic. Um, you know, customer experience.

Ron Kaufman: Yeah. The, the issue there is not in the voice of the customer, it's in the listening of the service provider. So the conversation that was always both parts, right? We say let's capture the voice of the customer.

Yeah. But what do we do with it? So I give you an example. I met recently with a various team gentleman. Who's been CEO of a number of hospitals here in Singapore, and still very active in the population health space for the next. [00:18:00] And, uh, he was talking about a hospital that he took over many years ago and there was a certain route, almost an arrogance amongst the senior medical professionals.

And of course, if you look at the way medical education works, you can understand. You know how that happens. We see it in the community and he was concerned that the very senior medical professionals, doctors, clinicians weren't really listening carefully to what the patients had to say. And so what he did was he went through the records of complaints.

And he invited in groups about 10 complaining patients or complaining family members. And out of the 10 that he would invite maybe six or seven would come and he'd have them comedy to arrange some food, et cetera, and have them all sit, you know, a little semicircle. And on the other side, right behind him, he had all of his clinical directors and senior doctors sitting there waiting to hear this.

And what he said to the patients was what we need you to do. Is essentially scold us. [00:19:00] Tell us the truth. Tell us what happened. Tell us how you felt. And he made very clear to all of his colleagues. You don't get to say anything.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: You have to sit.

Ron Kaufman: Now what he also said to the, to the patients was see all that nice food over there.

We don't get to share it with you until we, you know, until you tell us. So they started talking and what happens is one starts to say, what happened then the other patient, then the other family member. And pretty soon you've got the full volume and emotion of what actually is happening to these people.

And you've got the clinicians today and they're not wanting to hear. Right. And at the end of the session, he turned to the clinicians and he said, now you can answer. All you can say is thank you. And then they went and they had their food together. And you did that over and over and over again, they're, they're legendary.

They're called scolding sessions, but I want you to hear what it is. He was modifying not the voice of the customer. He was modifying listening of his colleagues. And after a certain number of sessions, they started. [00:20:00]

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I guess the one takeaway that I would, that I would have from that is, is, um, there's, there's something that, that I've even seen in lean practices and other things where you, where you essentially.

You know, record the, as is, you know, you want to know what, what exactly is happening so that we can get back to, you know, kind of that level of improvement and really, you know, drive something forward. The problem, whenever you involve humans. You know, change our behavior. So oftentimes, you know, lean, they would record the sessions or they would S you know, maybe, maybe have people, you know, work off shift or do something, you know, outside of their norm.

So that, then that way, at least you can get back to what might happen outside of, you know, a. Let's just say sterile environments. Um, because people change, right. The Hawthorne effect says that people will change when it right. Tell, [00:21:00] um, you know, tell them that, you know, Hey, look, I'm observing this for modification.

Yeah. So, um, in terms of, uh, there are a couple of personal questions I have for you. I heard that you were traveling right as the pandemic hit and, uh, you and your wife were out and about, and, uh, uh, you actually, uh, not only. Uh, you know, had to make your way back to Singapore in your travels, but you also had to quarantine for 14 days.

I'm kind of curious, what was your service experience while you were courting? Quarantining?

Ron Kaufman: Great, great question. Um, so just for your listeners, my wife and I were on a, we finally decided to take a real vacation and she knows wanting to see penguins. And so we got on a French luxury cruise liner. I'd never really been on a cruise before and we started out.

In Brazil and then went down along Argentina and then started to come up Chile and then the border got locked. And so we went back up to Argentina and the border was locked. And then Brazil, Uruguay. [00:22:00] We finally got out at Rio and, and flew via London to Singapore. And we were promptly put into a 14 day hotel room quarantine and by luck of the draw, we got the smallest hotel room in Singapore and there were the two of us for 14 days.

And there was enough room for six. And it turned out Don to be the most fabulous thing for our marriage, because in a crucible that is that small, you learn the consequences of raising your voice or even raising your eyebrow. And so it caused the two of us to really, if you will, like in a cocoon. Sort of, you know, melt into each other.

And when we finally came out, it started a whole new era in our lives. Uh, we've been, you know, the marriage is wonderful. It was before, but now it's at a different level, but the work also went from the level of helping organizations serve better, to create more value to this issue of care and care, [00:23:00] actually being the concern and the commitment to wellbeing.

Now wellbeing, people can calibrate using various terms of value. But when you say I'm concerned about someone's wellbeing and I'm committed to their wellbeing, that's different than saying I'm concerned and committed to top line revenue or bottom line profit or some other more usual commercial.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah.

And so, um, I mean, as a part of that trip, I've, I've heard you describe it. I mean, I watched a video of yours where you talk about, you know, there's sort of a dream trip and a book that, that you, uh, you know, more or less used as kind of the impetus for this as well. Did you wanna mention.

Ron Kaufman: Yeah, that's a book that was recommended to me by one of my mentors, Dr.

Fernando Flores, who has been teaching now for decades and has an interesting company called pluralistic networks or anybody who's interested. And he recommended to me one day, a book called McGee. Written by Stephen's vibe. And Stephen's vibe was one of the [00:24:00] leading Austrian authors between the two world wars, just a literary, you know, mock beautiful quality.

And he wrote this book on Magellan. I was so inspired. I said, honey, you know, I'd love to one day go through the Magellan Strait. What I didn't know is that on that particular vacation, we were going to go through it one way. And then because of COVID we were going to go back

Don Davis PhD, MBA: through the, so you got double the experience in one vacation.

There you go. Yeah. And so I've also read that you, that you're known very well for Frisbees as well. And I didn't didn't understand the connection there. I thought I would ask, ask about

Ron Kaufman: X story pieces about me. My, my grandmother taught kindergarten for 40 years. Wow. And she only had one son, my dad, and he had five kids.

And so in a sense, we were her private kids. And I remember I must've been about three or four years old and I got to go with grandma to her kindergarten and watched her teach these five-year-old kids. [00:25:00] And all she did for 40 years was poor love all over these kids. Just, I mean, every day, every kid, every parent, every situation, she just bumbumbumbum, but she was the ultimate, you know, grandmother, kindergarten teacher.

So I really learned it's okay to love other people. When I was very young, then I got into Frisbee and in particular, the sport called ultimate Frisbee and our high school was the second high school in the world to have the rules of the sport. And it was only because the math teacher from the high school that was the first high school in the world, came to teach at our school and he brought the sport with him.

And I'm a little guy. If you meet in person, I'm not going to play football or basketball, but they let me play on the. And all of us who learned ultimate Frisbee in high school, we then went off to college and started our college teams. I went to brown, but during my brown years, I also spent two years in Europe and I taught the rules of Frisbee and [00:26:00] organized tournaments and ran Frisbee festivals and created players' associations.

And so in the ultimate Frisbee hall of fame, they inducted me as what they call one of the Johnny apples. Not because I was a great player. But because I was a great advocate and an organizer now in the group game, ultimate Frisbee, the first rule is called the spirit of the game. And what it says is the players are responsible for the quality of play on and off the field, which meant that you could compete, but you had to care about your company.

Right or your adversary on the field. You don't just go beat him up. You don't play dirty. You've actually got to care about the spirit of the game. And so I learned love from grandma. I learned care from Frisbee. You had to take care of the wellbeing of the spectators, of the crowd, of the dog that wants to jump up and bite the frizzy.

And then when I came to Singapore, that's when I learned, sir,

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah. And so, I mean, I, I'm [00:27:00] just going to try and tie some of these pieces together. Right. Because I, I, you know, I think overall again, to focus on kind of the broader audience here is life science focused, right? But if I kind of pull this thread, you know, kind of all the way through.

So first of all, we talked about the six levels of customer service and kind of what it takes to set up your company, you know, overall. But I guess what I would pull from these last two stories, one is kind of this idea of, you know, look, if you, first of all, the people that you care for, um, you know, right now in this time in place, um, You know, spending a little bit of time and trying to figure out how to get closer to people, but also trying to figure out how to care for them.

You know, more is important, especially right now. Um, and kind of the last piece in terms of this, I mean, you could say Johnny Appleseed. You know, ultimate Frisbee, but you've also been very much [00:28:00] a Johnny Appleseed with regards to service as well, because you're, you know, teaching people, you know, routinely how to, how to, you know, focus on that as well.

And I just think it's important for our listeners to kind of take that away, you know, from this conversation that. You know, I mean, ultimately, you know, we could be talking about ultimate ultimate Frisbee or spending time in a hotel room with our spouse with six steps. Um, but at the end of the day, being able to care for one another and being able to spread kind of the, you know, broader message of, you know, what it takes to, to sort of be in service of people is, uh, is important, especially right now.

Ron Kaufman: I agree with you completely Dawn. And I would say that for anyone listening to. We need to take seriously at this period in history that attending to and caring for other human beings, wellbeing is something that wasn't necessarily the conversation of [00:29:00] successful customer service. You're supposed to just delight the customer right now, this, this issue of, you know, delight and.

Maybe the amaze can come a little bit later. Maybe now they need to know that there's an authentic human being there that genuinely cares about their wellbeing. So that's the external customer service side, but that's also provided for by the internal service environment. And so those six levels are just one of the tools of an entire architecture to help organizations look at how do we improve the quality of service that we provide externally also internally, but also how do we build a.

Of continuously uplifting and improving service and care. And I think that is really the much larger challenge for them.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, it kind of brings me to one of my, one of my last, um, you know, questions overall and I'm going to try and hold up my prop here and you'll know what this is, the moment that you see it.

Uh, there you go. Yep. So in the [00:30:00] book, um, uplifting service, you talk about on page 61, you talk about, um, you know, this paperclip moment, uh, in terms of an organization. And I kind of, I kind of come back to that, even in my career, that there were certain moments that I've seen with different organizations, where you either have the opportunity to.

Shine or not, and, and leaders have to choose, um, maybe you want to take a moment and describe the paperclip, um, you know, first, and then, you know, maybe we kind of come back to the question of, you know, how to, how do you decide.

Ron Kaufman: Yeah. And by the way, for those that are interested, if you go to YouTube and you type in my name, Ron Kaufman, and you type in either paperclip or what's my coin, because these are two sides of the same issue.

And what they're both speaking to is there are very small things that you can do. That can actually send out a very clear message without having to write memos without having to change company [00:31:00] policies, et cetera. The paperclip story is one where it was kind of Suki Matsushita visiting a factory that had cleaned up, you know, in anticipation of his arrival, rolled out the red carpet and he was a fanatic for housekeeping.

And one of the things that he did as he walked down the red carpet out of the corner of his eye, he saw underneath one of the big industrial machines. A paper clip on the floor and literally stopped on the red carpet. Turned, walked over, squatted down, picked it up, held it up in the air, put it in his suit pocket and went back to the red carpet and kept walking.

Didn't say a word, shocked the heck out of everybody and voided. They get the message. Right? So there are little things like a PS in an email to a supplier. It simply says, PS, I just want to say thank you for being one of the organizations that we count on to help us be successful with our customers. It could be a customer has a complaint.

You're sitting in a meeting with some of your team members and you don't roll your eyes and say, oh, that guy, right. You [00:32:00] instead are the one who says, let's look at this again from fresh eyes. Yeah. Et cetera, et cetera. So just the power of a small gesture. Can be leveraged quite significantly. And I think all the more so in this particular era where so many of our normal practices have been.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah. I mean, I, I mean, I think one of the big things that, that continually comes back, uh, that I, that I frequently hear is just the overall cost of, you know, what is the cost of, you know, good service while the cost of not good service is pretty expensive from my point of view. But, uh, you know, again, it's just an opportunity for, for companies to really shine.

Picking up a paperclip, you know, again is another opportunity. It's a small thing that, that, and

Ron Kaufman: you gave a great example during our conversation, Don of where waste. People think that by increasing service, you're going to have to increase your costs or your productivity is going to go down. And it's actually the opposite because if [00:33:00] you understand that action, that creates value that's good service action that isn't creating good value for the other party.

So that company that wants to send out all the lab results within a certain period of time, don't realize the damage that they're creating both for their own team, because they're focused on the wrong thing and in the customer experience because they're being disrupted and they're saying, I don't want to get it, let out a particular way.

And the company's own development efforts, or keep going down the path of continuous in a certain style. And they're missing the innovation that needs to happen. A lot of waste going on in there. So costs can actually come down. When you improve the service

Don Davis PhD, MBA: that you provide? Absolutely. Well, Ron, there are three questions that I like to ask every guest.

So first of all, what inspires you?

Ron Kaufman: What inspires me right now is how many people in the world are looking with some authenticity, with deep questions [00:34:00] about what does it mean to live well in the. You. And I grew up in a post-World war era with scientific progress and capitalism, et cetera, et cetera. You know, the American hegemonic style, you know, of the planet.

And it looked like success was a Lamborghini, you know, or whatever version of the big bank account, the big house, the whatever it is. And I think a lot of people didn't ever go, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on a second. What's the carrying cost of that for the. And even if I had, it would have given me a sense of actually living my life in a way that I look at my own life and say, boy, this is really, I feel like I'm contributing.

I feel like I'm creating. I feel like I'm, I'm somebody who is making the community of all of us better that questioning that's going on. It's always been there, but I am inspired by how much more it is present today

Don Davis PhD, MBA: and what concerns.

Ron Kaufman: The [00:35:00] culture that again, you and I, and most people listening to this have grown in during our particular era of human history. I characterize it as a culture of selfish, selfish calculation. The calculation is given by science and math and being able to measure. And so how big is yours? And what's in it for me and how much do I get and what was my percentage, all that.

You know, the selfishness came out of a misunderstanding that my ourself, my real self, my true self, my authentic self is in some way, disconnected from you. And now we really, blah, well, wait a minute, no one can have a self, unless we're part of a community, part of a social phenomenon. In fact, even the idea of myself only exists because there are other people who have their thoughts and opinions.

And so what concerns me is the drift of the power of any cultural drift and the need for us to re articulate, recreate, invite [00:36:00] other people to participate in another way of being that will be more, if you will, to use a common word today, sustainable or evolutionarily positive for the wellbeing of the planet.


Don Davis PhD, MBA: Yeah. I mean, I, that's an interesting perspective, right? I mean, cause you definitely see, um, you're just a lot of people that seem to have very skewed views about, you know, sort of what that future might be. And, um, I do look forward to. At least the world getting more normalized, especially in, in my world, at least in the United States where, you know, we're facing, you know, all sorts of, of challenges right now.

And, um, it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon. And, and you know, it kind of goes back to your point.

Ron Kaufman: Yeah, Don, you know, the idea of normalized, I look at it slightly differently. I mean, there's so much in change going on. It's not going to stop. [00:37:00] My challenge to anyone is what are you going to do?

How are you going to participate in a way that's going to make the world, your version of the world better? Yeah, I'm not saying you got to save the planet. That's, that's a collective phenomenon over many hundreds of years, right? It's only for all of us, but in your own world, your own relationships, your own life, your own health, your own wellbeing, your workspace, your colleagues, your family.

We can all do something to make our world

Don Davis PhD, MBA: a little better. Absolutely. And, um, what excites you,

Ron Kaufman: um, to be as healthy as I am, where I am at this moment in time? So the degree of activity that is queued up for 2022 and the quality of it, as I said earlier, a lot of it is now happening in the healthcare space.

And for those of you who are listening, who, you know, life sciences podcast, you, you, you, you [00:38:00] know what it feels like to be working in an area where, what you do actually contributes to other people's vitality, their vibrancy, their health and wellbeing. And that's a extraordinarily good feeling after spending 30 years all over the world.

And I've been working with every possible India. So to be focusing more in this area of life science, if you will, or population health or medical care or however you want to refer to it, it's, it's very fulfilling.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Excellent. And what's next for you? So, uh, I mean, are we going to see more books? Are I, you know, where do people get in touch with you?

Those sorts of things? I think we should also cover.

Ron Kaufman: So, so Ron Kaufman, K a U F M a n.com is the website or, or search online because there's lots on the blog, but there's also a lot on YouTube and the very active LinkedIn channel with lots of social activity going on there. Um, as far as you know, what's next.

When I encountered this world [00:39:00] called customer service 30 years ago, it wasn't very well developed and the world evolve. It was really the era of customer satisfaction. In fact, even before that it was just service recovery, like customer service is where you go when something breaks. Right. Then it became C-SAT.

Remember that. Sure then it became customer delight and then it became customer experience and then it became customer loyalty and then there's customer advocacy. And now I think we're really approaching customer care, but the word care I would propose is as poorly defined for the general population as the word service was.

And so when I wrote that sentence, service is taking action to create value for someone. Now when I would say, well, you know, deep service, real ser service is taking active degree value for someone you care about what we'll we'll we'll we'll we'll we'll that raises the question. What is care? And I'm working on that right now.

I coined the word cariology you'll be [00:40:00] seen. You'll be see, and it's so funny to ask people in the medical profession, doc, can I ask you a question? What's cariology. They look, I don't know. I've never heard it

Don Davis PhD, MBA: before. How can that be?

Ron Kaufman: I'm developing that right now.

Don Davis PhD, MBA: Well, Ron Kaufman, thank you so much for being a guest on the life science success podcast, and for kicking us off on tour in 2022, I greatly appreciate your time and, uh, thanks so much for being here

Ron Kaufman: privilege and a pleasure.

Thank you, Don. And to all your viewers and listeners. Thank you.