Uplifting Service with Ron Kaufman – E69 – First Half

Release date: 04.04.2022 (recorded in the first week of January)

link to the second half: www.cxgoalkeeper.com/RonKaufman2

Uplifting Service with Ron Kaufman – First Half Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview RON KAUFMAN

Ron’s LinkedIn Headline: New York Times Bestselling Author “UPLIFTING SERVICE” | Customer Experience & Service Culture Expert | Keynote Speaker

This discussion was split in 2 episodes. On April 11th, the second episode will be live. LINK


  • 00:00 Game Start
  • 1:35 Ron Kaufman’s Introduction
  • 4:30 Ron’s 6 personal values
  • 7:30 Service, Care and Love
  • 8:40 The Grandma story at the Kindergarten
  • 9:40 Uplifting Service
  • 10:30 The definition of Service
  • 14:15 Pillars of the Service Culture
  • 18:30 Excellent Service vs. Service Culture

Selected quotes:

  • “Taking action to create value for someone else” uplifted into “Taking action to create value for somebody you care for”
  • “Customer Care is a concern for and a commitment to someone well-being”
  • “Care of the well being of colleagues, customers and, friends will be the differentiator for success”

… and much more

Ron’s Contact Details:

Please watch also this video from Ron #worldcleanupday

His book suggestion:

  • “The invention of yesterday”, written by Tamim Ansary

also mentioned:

  • “Sapiens”, written by Yuval Noah Harari

Ron’s Golden Nuggets:

  • “Education for well-being of the humanity”

“Education for the well-being of the humanity” @RonKaufman on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

  • “A life well lived contributes to the well being of others”

“A life well lived contributes to the well being of others” @RonKaufman on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

Thank you, Ron!

If you want to listen to both episodes at the same time:

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

click here to subscribe
my YouTube channel


Gregorio Uglioni 0:01
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX Goalkeeper podcast. I am really, really pleased. And I’m thrilled to have a discussion with Ron Kaufman. He accepted my invite. I’m really glad that you accepted. Thank you very much, Ron, for being on my show.

Ron Kaufman 0:19
It is a privilege to be on your show, Gregorio, and especially a privilege to meet and connect with all of your viewers and listeners around the world.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:28
Thank you very much, Ron. It’s really great. And this is the way I would like to kick off the year, this is my first interview in 2022, there is no best option opportunity to start. And I want to mention that now that we are live that you were one of my targets for this year. And I already achieved this target. And therefore one thing checked, I am super happy.

Ron Kaufman 0:53
Okay, okay. I’m not sure. I love the idea of being somebody’s target. But I will accept that I was a goal that you have achieved.

Gregorio Uglioni 1:02
Exactly. That’s, that’s, that’s the perfect definition. And we already and also the audience is already getting some feelings about you. You are a professional guru in customer service. Everybody knows you. You have a great outstanding book that was published several years ago, everybody’s really reading that I read that also, it was my one of the my first book that I read about customer experience, but good before we kick off, and then I come back to the story about your book. And I would ask you please to quickly introduce you.

Ron Kaufman 1:36
Well, my name is Ron Kaufman. I was born in the United States, I went to school in the US and in Europe, I studied international political history. And what I was really interested in is how countries come back together after a war. I wasn’t the person who wanted to know why war broke out, or who won or lost the war. But how do they come back together to be the social community that we were before any of that conflict actually happened in the first place. I also got very involved with the sport that people might know of called Ultimate Frisbee. I was there when the sport was first created. The first rule of the game is called the spirit of the game. I was one of the people who took that sport out to colleges, and then to countries all over the world. And so I’m in the Ultimate Frisbee Hall of Fame is what’s called a Johnny APPLESEEDS. In other words, somebody who takes it far and wide. Back in 1990, I moved to Singapore, at the invitation of Singapore Airlines and the government of the country. They asked me to come for one week, at the end of the week, they said, Could you please stay another week? Then they said, Could you stay for a month, would you stay for six months and run the project. And I got very involved in a project to raise the quality of service in the entire nation. And that gave me a tremendous deep dive which has lasted now more than three decades into the world of service, customer experience building internal successful service cultures, differentiating based on service. And here we are Gregorio, you and I having this conversation.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:14
Thank you very much. And you didn’t mention that all the possible awards that are available you want them for you’re always on the top of these awards, I think you are the know the fifth or sixth time in a row that one of the number one guru in customer experience and in customer service. Congratulation for everything, what you’re doing. And also from my side and side. And also speaking also from my audience, thank you very much for what you are doing in this field, you are a role model for us.

Ron Kaufman 3:42
Well, thank you, let me just say that receiving awards is is is humbling. Because to me, it’s it’s just a a moment that says what you’re doing matters to other people. Now, we’re going to give you this pat on the back, we’re going to give you this recognition. But it comes with a condition. It’s my own condition, which is do more, give more care more, contribute more help more support more, serve more. And you know, there’s that thought about at the end of your life, how do you want to feel? And I remember I saw a cartoon once it said, all used up. And since I’m still here, I’m not all used up. So let’s serve. Thank

Gregorio Uglioni 4:25
you very much. And I think the audience and myself are already filling out your but I think it’s really important. Also, we speak often in companies in businesses about values, core values. And I would like to understand which are the values that that drive you in life?

Ron Kaufman 4:41
Yeah, I have six core values and they’re connected in three couplets. So I’ll share them with you. The first one is what I call gratitude and generosity. I recognize and I couldn’t stop being born as a male as a white male As a white American male, as a white American male speaking English at a time between or after wars, so I didn’t suffer that kind of thing. And and I grew up in a middle class family that allowed me access to tremendous education. And, and, and, and I don’t take any of that for granted. I look at life itself and being alive at this moment with all of these extraordinary privileges, it makes no sense for me to apologize for them. What it makes sense for me to do is to say, how do I use these to be as generous as I possibly can, in whatever ways that I can with whatever people that I can. So gratitude for life and generosity with all that has been given that I can give to others. That’s number one. Number two, is what I call curiosity and respect. So there was a time when I was in university, and I went overseas. And it was just such a healthy moment to land in the UK after living in the United States for my first 20 years, and realizing, Oh, thank goodness, there are other cultures out here. And it’s not that I was disappointed with the US culture. But I was I began to flourish and realize that there are so many different cultures, ways of being traditions, cuisines, spiritual practices, etc, etc. And that led me to embark on a life where these, what you see in front of the camera right now are actually three of my many passports, which just gives you an idea of you know, what an extraordinary life I’ve been able to live going around the world and being curious about how other people do things. How do they do family? How do they do birthdays? How do they do education? How do they do sports? How do they do life, and then be respectful of that not show up in anybody else’s world like I know better, or you should be like me, so curiosity and respect. And then the last two are what I call commitment, and care. In other words, none of us is going to live any longer than we have the privilege and the miracle of being able to be alive. What are you going to do with the rest of your life, and I don’t want to live my life thing like, oh, you know, I wish I had, or I’m sorry, I wasted my time doing, I live with this sense of commitment to the well being of other people. It’s not like I’m only altruistic, I know that there’s this incredible gift that somebody gets when they give to somebody else. And so I live with the sense of commitment and care for the well being of others. So those are my six values.

Gregorio Uglioni 7:37
Thank you very much outstanding. And if somebody goes to your web page, on count one.com, you will find out that there are three main words that are everywhere, it’s service, its care, and it’s love. And I think now we would like to discuss about service and care. And I think the long on the long term, it will be not care anymore, but it will be love. The last thing that I want to share with with the with the audience is, and please correct me if I’m saying something wrong, but your vision, your mission is the education for the well being of humanity. It’s I think this is outstanding. I was hoping that you would mentioned that, as you didn’t said that I wanted to share with the audience because I think this is a really important visual visions of people not only focusing on profit and working, but on the well being of the humanity, because we have a really a great gift, as you said that we are on this planet. And we are now during this period. And we need to do the best out of that.

Ron Kaufman 8:39
And Gregorio you know, there’s something that people may know about my background, or if you don’t let me tell you so you can enjoy it yourself. I had a grandma named grandma B. And she taught kindergarten for 40 years. And when I was only three or four years old, because I was your grandchild, I got to go with her and watch her be the kindergarten teacher. And when you’re teaching kindergarten children, you’re not thinking about making money and what’s my profit margin, what you’re concerned for is encouraging and supporting and empowering and enabling and loving all of these crazy little kids that are running around. And so I really, you know, got very early on that this idea of education for the well being of other people. Yes, later on. It may turned commercial, or it may turn like government or civil service or even military service. But what’s the purpose of really teaching other people to contribute to one another’s well being?

Gregorio Uglioni 9:36
Thank you very much. It’s really outstanding. And you already did one outstanding contribution. It’s the book uplifting service, the proven path to delighting customer colleagues and everyone else you meet. And this is really the first book that I read about customer experience, short story and never share that. It’s I started working customer experience and I told my boss I wanted to prepare He said, This is the book you start, you need to read start with start with this book. And I’m really happy. And now years from roughly 10 years after I can discuss with you about your book. I’m super pleased. And what I really like is, it’s not that you created the book, and then you stopped. But you develop the concept of service again and again, and you’re always fresh off reshuffling goes to the definition, perhaps let’s really start with the definition of service. Sure, how do you define a service?

Ron Kaufman 10:32
So when I started working in the world of service, I realized that there actually was not a good definition that everybody could agree on, I would hear things like the customer is always right, which isn’t true. Or you know, the customer is king. But then what does that make the service provider, or there’s that horrible phrase that says, serve other people the way you would like to be served, which arrogantly assumes that other people should be like you. They’re not, they’re like them. So I ended up writing the definition that service is taking action, to create value for someone else. So it could be action in making a sale, answering a question, providing a recommendation, doing an upgrade, whatever it might be, could be over the phone, it could be online, it could be in person, it could be internally within a company, it could be from the boardroom, it could be at the front line, it could be b2b, it could be b2c, but service is taking action to create value. Now, when I first wrote the definition, I said to create value for someone else. Now, if it was actually to create value for yourself, that would be the exception that proves the rule. And that would be called self service. But then COVID came along, and I realized, you know, the kind of service that really matters, at least to me, it’s not just for someone else, it would be for someone you care about. And that opened up a big question, which is not just what is service, but what is actually care. Now, we can get to that in a moment. But let me show you and your listeners how this world of customer service itself has been evolving, and why the issue of care is important for us to be looking at now. And in the future. When I was young, the service center was basically the repair center, they had the spare parts, it’s where you went with something broke, take it to the service center, then the field evolved, and customer service became equated with customer satisfaction. And during that era, the belief was that a satisfied customer wouldn’t be a loyal customer. Well, today, we know that’s definitely not true. Because there’s too many ways that somebody could be satisfied, and you could switch even if you are satisfied. So customer satisfaction became customer delight, surprise, the customer personal touch moments of magic, then that became customer experience, where we said, Wait a minute, it’s not just a moment of delight, it’s the whole experience that evolved further where the objective was customer loyalty. And that was the Net Promoter Score era and make sure they come back and they buy more. And then it became customer advocacy, where you wanted somebody to be an ambassador and promote you on social media. And now we’re evolving to what I would call authentic customer care. So what is care, it’s a concern and a commitment to someone’s well being. How do you take good care, while you take action, that will provide value that contributes to their well being. So now you can see the connection between service and care. And we’re now emerging into the era where authentic care for the well being of your colleagues of your customers of your communities and of the future, that is going to be the differentiation for future success?

Gregorio Uglioni 14:03
It makes total sense. And I think as you’re saying, COVID helped us because before COVID, if I would say I care about you, the people that are really sure, what do we want from me? And now nowadays, it’s completely different. And I think it’s it’s a cultural aspect that that changed. And I think also there you are really renowned for, for explaining, which are the pillars of service culture. And I know that you did that for a big counter like Singapore. In this case. I would like to reduce that only in businesses. How would you how is it possible to create a service culture?

Ron Kaufman 14:44
Yeah, that’s a terrific question. You know that in the book, there’s a fundamental architecture that has three major components, so the fount imagine we’re building a house, the foundation of the house is that you’re going to need to teach the people in your organization, about certain fundamental tools that can be used for continuous service improvement. And the reason you’re gonna have to teach it to them is it’s not being taught in school. We have students who are graduating having passed a lot of tests, but they can’t answer the question, what does it mean to have a customer? How do you create value for someone? How do you identify what different people value at different times? How do you produce a positive impression during a service transaction. So we need to bring people a tool set, and then have them learn how to use it and develop a skill set. So that they can apply those tools, whether it’s to internal service, or to external service, that’s what I would call the foundation of the house. And I call that actionable service education. The roof of the house is having a leadership team that provide direction and protection for everyone that’s going to work inside that organization, everybody who comes to work inside the house every day, standing on the foundation of their educational experience and their ability to serve well. So that leadership team has got to guide they’ve got to role model, they’ve got to support they’ve got to engage, they’ve got to measure they’ve got to have it cetera, et cetera. How many leaks do you need in a roof of a house to mess up the house?

Gregorio Uglioni 16:31
Not so many. Exactly.

Ron Kaufman 16:33
It doesn’t even have to be a big leak. And so the second most critical component for building a strong service culture is make sure your leadership team is aligned, and engaged and committed. Now, in between the foundation and the roof are these building blocks. In a real house building blocks are things like cement, steel, wood, tile, pipes, Windows and wires. But it’s the way you put them together, that actually creates a house, or an office, or a restaurant, or a hotel, or a hospital. So in an organization, those building blocks, and there are 12 of them. And for those who are listening, if you go to the book uplifting service, you can find the 12 chapters, one about each building block. And there are things like, are you recruiting the right people, is the onboarding experience of the new people, one that actually introduces them to the culture and harnesses them right away in a way where they help them make your culture stronger, because they are if you will crash blood, to many organizations bring people in and say, Well, why don’t you just work here for six months and figure out how things work and you know, then we’ll get you involved. That’s not a good approach. So that’s two of the building blocks. But there are many more communications recognition, voice of customer measures and metrics, improvement process, service, recovery, benchmarking, service, and others. So those are the three major components of foundation, leadership, building blocks, and then you need to have an implementation roadmap, because you cannot do everything all at once. And those roadmaps must be designed in a in a customized manner, taking into account the situation for any complex organization, so that we can help them do an assessment of where to start, what should you hold off on? And what can you leave for later?

Gregorio Uglioni 18:32
Thank you very much. It’s it’s really outstanding, remembering what was in the book and getting your explanation out how you’re explaining that, with your eyes with your ends, it’s really extremely interesting, I would have now 150 questions, I think we cannot go through through through all of them. And therefore focus, focusing on the most important and also to create tangible explanation for the audience, and perhaps also for your future clients is, I think, from my point of view of time of time, often people mix up excellent service with service culture. And what’s your view on that? How can we explain that? How can we bring this understanding of these pillars and everything what you said to the boardrooms, or to the boss of customer experience,

Ron Kaufman 19:23
or? Yeah, very good. Very good. So excellent service is an assessment. It’s an opinion that someone has, I got excellent service, or we gave excellent service. And we know we did because we got a compliment or we got a five star review for a repeat purchase, for example. So excellent service is the experience. It’s the actions that you take that produce the experience for someone where they say, You gave me an excellent experience, you gave me excellent service. And when you teach people how to do that, you give them the tools and the tools etc, and the support, they can provide excellent service. But a service culture is an entire organizational environment that is constantly educating, recognizing, communicating to enabling, promoting, empowering, reinforcing, rewarding people to give excellent service to other people internally to each other, as well as externally to customers or to clients or whatever they may be called. So these are not the same thing. Now, let me show you why they’re different and how they’re connected. Is it possible to have someone in an organization who is a service hero, a superstar, they give great, they give excellent service, even if the culture of the organization is not an excellent service culture? Is that possible? Yes, it is. But is it sustainable? No, not really. Why? Because that superstar is either going to realize, hey, nobody else around here is doing this and they’re going to go somewhere else, or they’re going to burn out, or they’re just going to continue to be the one hero superstar. If you want to do it in a sustainable manner, then you’ve got to create the cultural environment that develops people and attracts new people who either are superstars or want to be superstars. And then it gives them all the support that they need, where they live with a sense of pride and enthusiasm and the passion for continuous improvement is something that they share. That’s a service culture that delivers excellent service performance.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:43
If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you

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