Core Values Builds Trust with Customers
Dan: And it is 8:30. It's time for Bit-Wizards, Tip of the Wand. And I'm hoping this is Sam on the phone with me right now. Is this you Sam?
Sam: Sure. This is Sam [inaudible 00:00:11]. I have Jennifer with me as well.
Jennifer: Hi Dan.
Dan: Well hello, Jennifer. I guess he convinced you to come on with him today.
Sam: I trapped her. I locked her computer up. I put viruses all over it and said, " Well, I think I know how to get the viruses up, but you're definitely going to have to come on the radio with me this morning."
Jennifer: And he offered me a cookie.
Dan: Oh, the cookie probably did it. Oh by the way, if you want to get out of all those viruses, the password is Bit-Wizards.
Sam: That's right. Bit-Wizards.
Dan: Because after all that is very, very difficult to be able to break into because Sam, he has these very tricky passwords.
Sam: That's right. The, you don't know it, but the the I in Bit-Wizards is really the number one. And that way people will never get past that one.
Dan: Oh now see you told her and she's going to be able to get out of it now.
Jennifer: I'm still focused on my cookie.
Sam: My other security hack is when I'm at the beach I put my wallet inside my shoe because I figured nobody would ever think to look there if they were going to look for my valuables.
Dan: Man, that is a great idea. I got to think of that one.
Sam: Security man. [inaudible 00:01:16].
Dan: Does it work if you're just wearing flip flops too. Probably just as good.
Sam: That's right. The people won't be able to see it. They just see the flip flop, not the money and the wallet and the keys and all the others, the iPhone.
Dan: That's right. That's invisible. They'll never be able to see that stuff. Yeah, I know. Because just real funny, we've talked about that before Sam, how people will come up with these goofy passwords. Because they think nobody will think of it. Like, oh I don't know, one, two, three, four, five, things like that. ABC.
Sam: Yeah. It's like that as seen on Spaceballs when they're trying to figure out the combination and the combination is one, two, three, four. And they said only an idiot would use that. It sounds like the kind of password I would use on my luggage. And then he has to remind himself to change his password on his luggage.
Dan: His luggage. Oh that's funny. By the way, that's a funny show. I like that show.
Sam: Yeah. That was a great movie. So anyway. Yeah. So this is what, we do talk about passwords a lot, at Bit-Wizards. And I know we've talked about it on this show also, but it is a big part of IT in general. But today I actually thought, we talk a lot about IT on this show because it's what we do as a company. But today, as I was looking at this, I was talking with Louis our COO last night. And as we were discussing this, there's quite a lot more to Bit-Wizards than just our IT side of things. We do software engineering, we do digital marketing, we do lots of different things. In fact, we're hoping that in the next week or two, we can bring in a few other people within the company onto the radio to talk about different areas of what we do and let them use their expertise as well.
Dan: Okay. That sounds great.
Sam: Yeah, I'm excited about that because I think a lot of people, just see Bit-Wizards as that building they drive by on Memorial or they saw the billboard with someone's pants around their ankles saying protect your privates. And everyone's like, wait what is that for? Is that for another **inaudible** location? Or is that a technology company in the-
Dan: Right next door to [inaudible 00:03:19], go and get Bit-Wizards and don't drop your knickers though.
Sam: So I imagine people have heard our radio ads because we have them across multiple stations in the area as well, on FM and on AM as well, I believe.
Dan: We're AM, Sam. Come on now.
Sam: This is true old school radio. If you're going to modulate, you want to modulate on amplitude, don't modulate on frequency, that's for new people. That's really-
Dan: I don't know about that new stuff. Because the old stuff is good.
Sam: But I thought, what we could do today is we could talk about, not just the things we do but why we do. Bit-Wizards has some really... We have core values that are a really big deal to us. And I know every company has its mission statement and value statement and what the purpose is and their vision statement. **inaudible** company-
Dan: We have mission statements sort of, I guess. In the air force we had core values. And I would imagine that runs across the military, I believe. So core values within Bit-Wizards. That sounds like a great idea.
Sam: Yeah. It is a big deal for us. In fact, even for Bit-Wizards for a long time, we had like Vince's 15 rules of success or 25 rules, I can't remember what it was. It was a lot of rules of success that Vince has come up with in life. And that's years and years of doing this. But I asked Jennifer to join us because the core values of Bit-Wizards are completely unrelated to the work that we do, the departments that we have, the lines of business, the technology we use [ inaudible 00:04:58]. And about how we run Bit-Wizards, how we act within Bit-Wizards, how we act towards each other, how we act towards our clients, how we search for new clients, how we provide the kind of white glove service that we're able to provide across multiple **inaudible** disciplines. And I'll be honest, I don't know of hardly anyone in the company who exhibits most of these traits more than Jennifer Krauss. And so I asked her to join us today. She is our service manager in our IT department. She monitors all of these incoming tickets and help desk queue. And she's also keeping track of all the projects we're working on, all the clients and all the new deals that are coming in. But she really does exhibit these values. And so I thought for today, we could go through these six core values that we live at Bit-Wizards and talk about what they look like in day to day life for us and how we even celebrate these values and how we make sure they become a part of our DNA.
Dan: That sounds like a great idea. And Jennifer, if you can stop focusing on your cookie for just a minute.
Jennifer: [ crosstalk 00:05:59].
Dan: What'd he say, what'd he say.
Jennifer: The only thing I love more than cookies is our core values. And I could talk about that all day.
Sam: I lured her here with cookies-
Dan: You have to limit that to 30 minutes Jennifer.
Sam: That's funny. So the way we have these set up and on our website, if you go to our website at Bit-Wizards, just go to about us and you can kind of drill down a little bit there and see what our mission values are and what our core values are. But we have them set up around a wheel because there are six of these. And they all kind of balance each other out and they all have a same central core tendency that we can talk about as well. But the first value for us at Bit-Wizards that is a big deal. And we talk about this a lot, is ownership thinking. And we talk about quite a lot with our team when we're talking about closing out help desk tickets or we're working on a large software engineering project or taking over a client's web presence and setting up their online marketplace. This ownership thinking is really the starting place for us on this.
Dan: I see that on your wheel, I'm looking at your website right now.
Jennifer: Yeah. And I think one of my strong suits really is the ownership thinking because I tend to care about things way more than I probably should. And I'm really focusing every day, driving projects and knowing that following through with action and taking necessary steps is going to breed trust with our clients and with our team. Because when we talk to our clients, usually they're frustrated in some capacity with technology. And so they see us taking ownership of their issues and of their concerns. And we care about it as much as they do, sometimes even more than they do. And I love that core value. I love that we focus on that.
Sam: And the opposite of ownership thinking is the not my job mentality, that says, hey look I'm just here to sweep the floor. I'm just here to work on computers. I'm just here to write software. I don't do that. And at Bit-Wizards, we really go against that mentality that, hey I've got one specific job to do. Jennifer says this often, there's no task beneath any of us ever. And Dan, I don't know if you've ever read it, but there's a book by some former Navy seals called ownership thinking. And I really love that book. It's more of a leadership business improvement process, improvement book. But it's this concept that it was instilled in them in the Navy seals, of this concept of, you know what, you own it. It doesn't matter whose idea it was in the first place. It doesn't matter whether you're the one who got yourself in this mess in Fallujah. And with people shooting at you as you're standing behind a building. But in that situation, you take ownership of it. And you say, it doesn't matter how I got here, but right now I'm going to take charge of this situation.
Dan: Absolutely. That's a good way to think too. Because you could always be blaming everybody else. Like you said, not my job. I don't have to worry about it. But that's the type of person I would imagine you would love working at your establishment, whether it's Bit-Wizards or any place else. I got this project right now and I'm going to follow through with it.
Sam: That's actually such a good point that you mentioned there, the people we love having at Bit-Wizards, in fact when we're hiring, I am looking for these core values in the people that I'm interviewing. So we'll put out there and we might have a couple hundred resumes come in for a position that we open up. Because Bit-Wizards is a very desirable place to work. We've been in the top 10 best places to work in the state of Florida for over 10 years running, I think it is. And so when we have a job opening, it often fills pretty quickly. But yes, I need to make sure people have the technical know how, to do what they're doing when I'm interviewing them. But a lot of the things I'm looking for are these core values. And again, the first one is this ownership thinking, being able to take ownership of a project and then drive it. And collectively own the outcomes as individuals, and as a team that as wizards, we understand that we succeed together. And that means we have to wear many hats. We all have to do sales. We all have to do marketing. We're all in delivery. We're all a team member and we all support each other. And for us, that means following through with action and taking the extra step. When you own a business, you're the person who opens up and you're the person who usually is the one locking up at the end of the day, because it's your business. You own it. And it's usually pretty different for employees because they don't, they come and get a paycheck. But at Bit-Wizards, we value that ownership thinking, treat it as if this was yours. And when we do IT for our clients and our managed IT services line of business, we talk constantly about this with our team. You are their IT department. We're not a vendor that our clients call up when they have an IT problem and their mouse is going in the opposite direction. When they scroll up, it's scrolls down. That's not why they have us, they have us because we are their IT, we own it for them.
Jennifer: Oh, sorry, Dan. Go ahead.
Dan: I was just going to say, when you grab it like that, that you have taken owner, you find the solution to the problem, fix it and move on.
Jennifer: Yep. And one of our other core values is being a trusted advisor. And even though we take ownership, we drive projects and we care about the technology and the issues. Being a trusted advisor for us also means that sometimes we'll have the difficult conversations with our clients and talk about some areas that they might not want to hear about. If their server is old and will be failing, or the domain controller won't come back online after it gets rebooted once a month, we have to have those conversations and being a trusted advisor is part of that.
Sam: That's right. I think a lot of people in any industry and because we work in IT, that means we get to work with people across multiple verticals. People in the medical field, people in the education field, kitchen and bath companies, steel manufacturing companies, we work with all these different clients. And I love how unique every single one of them is. And yet I also love that how similar many of the business issues are that they deal with. And it doesn't even really matter that they are in a completely different industry. And so for us, we see ourselves as an advisor, as a trusted advisor to our clients. And I know a lot of people in their businesses, even people listening to us right now that are business owners work in businesses, you have knowledge about how your industry works. You have knowledge about the best way to do things, the most efficient way, the most valuable tricks that you can use in your line of work to get the most bang for your buck. And yet we're often scared to share that information because, well hey, that's what I'm selling. I can't just give this away. But at Bit-Wizards we really believe that being a trusted advisor, giving people good advice and owning up to it and taking ownership of the advice that we give goes a long way to building trust with our clients. It helps us exude our confidence that we know what we're doing. And we understand that's what builds the relationships that we have with our customers, because they know they can trust us. And like Jennifer said, there are plenty of times where the advice we have to give is not good news. So when I have to sit down with someone and say, look I know you just spent a bunch of money buying a bunch of computers for your business. You just bought a half a dozen, but when you bought them, you didn't buy them with the right software on there. And so technically you can't really use this for your business right now, and it's going to be another a hundred bucks per laptop to get you up to Windows 10 Professional. I don't know, making up an example here. That's not a fun conversation when somebody just dropped 10 grand on new PCs, and now I've got to tell them, well it's going to be another thousand dollars. But as a trusted advisor, I have to be able to give them that advice to help them. And to also help them maybe see some shortcomings that they may not see on their own, because we as a company have some insight into this. And so we constantly ask ourselves these intelligent probing questions for ourselves asking ourselves... We say, we ask three levels of why, why is it that way? And then when we **inaudible** that. Well, why is that? And so we can really try to get to the core root of problems. And then we try to think two or three steps ahead of the customer so that we can deliver value before our clients even know it. This is a big deal for us being a trusted advisor, that we don't hold back on information. And we're not scared to have uncomfortable conversations, but that we are able to tell people what we know without being scared of it.
Dan: That makes really good sense. Because if they value your trust and your opinion and that relationship that you develop with them... Like you said before, maybe I could sell them on a service or an item that I make money on, but I'm not going to do that because they show no benefit for this. And you build a trust with them. And that kind of trust will pay dividends because they're going to tell other people about it as well.
Sam: Yes, we really believe in the longterm of this, the longterm building relationships with our clients, with our prospects, with the leads that they come into us. We have people hear us on the radio and they call in, we have people see our billboards. We have people that go to our website or search for a specific issue, and our website has helped them. And so that's why we post a lot of our information on our website because we want to be trusted advisors. And the interesting thing about being an advisor is I think, we think as normal human beings that advice is a spoken thing. That means it involves a lot of speaking. When you bringing in an advisor, a consultant, they're going to tell you what to do. But we believe that being a trusted advisor is more about listening than it is about speaking. Because I can't speak intelligently to the problem that somebody has, unless I've heard through the struggles they're going through and what it is they're struggling with. I find too often, especially in the technology sector, it is so easy to just assume we know what somebody is saying or assume we know what the right answer is for somebody because, oh I've done this a thousand times. But the key is to be a good listener. And so a trusted advisor for us is a good listener. Someone who can actively listen and understand any of our customer's business challenges and what their definition of success is. Because their definition of success, maybe a little different than ours. But that's what enables us to be trusted advisors and to be able to give them the correct advice to the best of our ability.
Dan: Gosh, that is really good to hear you say that Sam. Because in communication, listening is so lacking most of the time. Most of the time, people want to speak rather than listen. So if you're a good listener, you're going to learn so much more about what they need and be able to help them so much more. That it's really good to hear you say that.
Sam: I'm sorry. Could you say that, I wasn't really paying attention.
Dan: Okay. And your mics off now, that's it.
Sam: No, that's absolutely true. Because when we know something, we want to tell everybody about what we know and it's just, I think human nature. But being able to listen and hear through the issues. It's so funny. A lot of times people come to us and say, how do I install this piece of software on 15 computers, something like that. And really, I can tell you, here's a good way to install that on 15 computers. But instead I'll ask, so what are you trying to do here? And they'll say, well we had this issue. And so we looked around and we found this piece of software, and I think this is the right thing to do. And that gives us the opportunity to say, oh well are you aware of this or that? Or other types of solutions, that could be an option there. So if we didn't listen, if we just did or just spoke, we wouldn't ever get to that.
Dan: That's a probing question. That's a good idea.
Jennifer: And Sam brings up a good point about the listening and kind of leads us into the next core value, which is living the wizard life. And one of the things that I love about this core value is we really are passionate and engaged about what we do. We're vested in success. We do celebrate our greatness at Bit-Wizards, and we do treat everyone like family. Our coworkers, our members in the community, our clients, we treat everybody with respect. And when somebody needs help, we go out of our way to do what we can to take care of them. And so that includes the active listening and coming up with solutions.
Sam: And this is one of those things that, this is a core value to Bit-Wizards, but it might not necessarily be to somebody else. If somebody else had a core value of live the wizard life, that would probably be a little bit strange.
Dan: Kind of weird.
Sam: But for us, we are Bit-Wizards. I think last week or the week before we told a little bit of the story about how we got the name Bit-Wizards. And that's because the name we wanted bit-wise was already taken. But now we talk about this, that our name is really ironic when we say wizards. Because our tagline is, " It's not magic. It's just dedicated talent." And that's what we have a lot of at Bit-Wizards. And so for us, we don't talk about our fellow employees. We talk about our co-wizards, our fellow wizards. And we will put you in touch with a wizard today. And so we talk about our wizards quite a lot. And so when we say live the wizard life, we're saying live these core values, engage and be what makes Bit-Wizards great. The reputation that we have in the community, locally. The reputation we have nationally and internationally with our standing as a technology company. That we as individuals, we live that culture, when we are these people, when we have this service mentality, whether at work or just being a part of the community, for us this is a way of life. And we know that for us, our customers are why we exist. There's no reason for us to be in business if we didn't have our clients. And so we believe you got to take care of the customer or somebody else will. I know that's not a unique or brand new idea, but we make it known to our entire team all the time. All of our employees here and the ones that we have working remotely, you've got to live the wizard life. Customer service is not a department, it's an attitude. We are all here to represent who Bit-Wizards is. And we know that together, we make up Bit-Wizards. That means we sink or we swim based on that effort. And so there's a level of dedication and pride and professionalism that comes with living the wizard life. It's sometimes maybe a little hard to define exactly what it is, but it's like that statement, you know it when you see it. So for us, we know it when we see the wizard life.
Dan: I like that.
Sam: I was going to say, so far we've talked about three of these core values, our ownership thinking, our trusted advisor, and our live the wizard life. And we'll talk about the three other values as well, but these are a big deal for us. I know a lot of companies will put their mission statement on their website or they'll have a plaque hanging over the urinal in the men's room that says, don't forget to be a good one employee today or something like that.
Dan: Have good aim.
Sam: Yeah, that's right. And aim well please. For us, these values are plastered all over our building. We have them in giant posters in our conference room. We talk about them regularly. In fact, we celebrate them every single quarter within the organization where all of our fellow wizards get to vote once a quarter on who is exhibiting one of the core values this quarter. So let's say this quarter, our core value is live the wizard life. Our entire staff is thinking about our coworkers and asking ourselves who has been doing this lately. Who's been living the wizard life. Who do we see? That's really gone out of their way to treat everyone like family, whether they're coworkers, whether they're customers or the vendors we work with, or the community. Who has done this? And then at our staff meeting once a quarter, we will make a big deal and celebrate this person. [inaudible 00:22:03], their picture goes up on the mezzanine in our offices. We have to all like candles to it. As we walk past. It's a nice little altar to one of our-
Dan: You have to genuflect and all that. Okay got you.
Sam: That's right, genuflect and kneel as we walked past the mezzanine. We have a jacket that we give out that says, " I lived the wizard life." They would say that on them. We give them a cash award. But we make a big deal out of it. Because when we all live these core values, it's such a big deal to us. When we live these wizard values, then it makes us as Bit-Wizards a much better company and a successful company. A company that's gotten through some sick and thin times. I don't know which ones are the bad ones. Are the bad ones the sick times or the bad ones the thin times? I don't know, but we've been through both of those and we've succeeded at all of these. And so much of it comes down to these core values. Vince and Louis who started this company, they started this company with the idea of making Bit-Wizards a great place to work. And I would say mission accomplished on that. And a lot of it comes down to these six core values. So we've talked about ownership thinking, we treat everything as if we owned it and we drive it through to completion knowing that we just need to take the next steps and to breed trust that way. And we continue to breed trust with our clients by being trusted advisors, by not being afraid to have difficult conversations, we own our failures. If we mess up, we fess up. And so we ask intelligent questions. And we try to dispense the advice to the best of our ability. And we live the wizard life, whether we're at work or out of work. Which leads, I think to the next one for us, which is make it so. Now I'll let Jennifer explain, make it so. But make it so is a Star Trek reference. It's what Captain Picard would say in the bridge of the Starship Enterprise and he would say, " Make it so." Which is to make it happen. And so for us, that is one of our core values, make it so.
Jennifer: And you know what, Dan? We absolutely do make it so. Our wizards have a can do attitude. We come to work every single day and we believe that all things are possible with the right attitude, resources, hard work and dedication. And really one of the things that I love about this core value is that our wizards really do quickly size up any situation, any issue, we visualize the successful outcome, and we really do make it happen. We're continuously focusing on the positive outcomes and the success. Negativity, skepticism are not part of our world. And we do go where others dare not go.
Dan: That's a great attitude. It really is. It reminds me of my powerlifting days. If you went up, I'm going to try to deadlift this 650 pounds. Our phrase was there is no try, only do. So with a mindset of just do it, you're going to get it done.
Jennifer: Exactly. And for us, every wizard is a hero and and we really do rise to any challenge. There no challenge that's thrown at us that we can't overcome.
Sam: That's right. I'm reading a book right now by Dan Crenshaw called Fortitude. And it's a really good book. But it really comes down to this make it so. If I need an excuse to not do the thing that I'm doing, I guarantee you, I can find an excuse. I am the king of rationalization. But the make it so value doesn't make excuses. It says, let's find a way to make it happen. Instead of getting paralyzed and saying, " Ooh, I don't know. This is above my pay grade." Instead, we find out ways to make it happen. I know we don't have much time left, so I'll cover these last two. We said, ownership thinking, trusted advisor, live the wizard life, make it so. It's what we do. We focus on successes and ways to make that success. And one of the ways we do that is we become lifelong learners. We expect everyone at Bit-Wizards to be a lifelong learner. I don't care if you dropped out of kindergarten for violence and got expelled. Or if you have a PhD in astrophysics, you cannot stop learning. We are big believers in this, that we are lifelong learners. Continuously we have to reinvent ourselves. And in the technology field, more so than a lot of places, it changes by the minute. I mean, the IT field is just absolutely breakneck pace, all gas, no brakes. But it's more than that. As lifelong learners, we don't fear the unknown. We project confidence. And we know that we can embrace change and we can learn the things we need to learn and we can create, and then we can enlighten others with it. And that also means that we are very open with each other. We transfer knowledge to each other. I would tell our team you're never ever too busy to help one of your fellow wizards. I don't care how elbows deep you are in the middle of a really difficult problem. If one of the other wizards says, " Hey, do you know how this works? And can you help me and explain it to me?" We drop what we're doing to help them. Because we know that knowledge is empowerment. So we're ownership thinkers, trusted advisors, we live the wizard life, we make it so, and we are all lifelong learners. Which leads us to our last value here, which is be the magic. Be the magic.
Jennifer: And the magic really Dan, is everything that makes up our brand equity. It's from the initial contact with our customer support to our brand equity, which is our most valuable asset. And we really do know that first impressions are everything. The first impression is what's going to open the door or close it. As well as how we interact with people out in the community. We have to be the magic everywhere that we are, because we are always representing Bit-Wizards.
Sam: And because we say this all the time, we strive to be the magic. We strive to have that wow experience. When someone works with was they come away going, man that was fantastic. I wish when I worked with other companies, it was always like this. Or if someone were to ever think about leaving our IT services, they would start looking around and say, " Man, I don't know anyone else who could provide us this kind of service that Bit-Wizards has given us." Because we want to be the magic. We want to wow our customers all the time. And we understand that solutions are always a balance of time and money and the features. And that's combined with teamwork and dedication and hard work. And the little bit of that wizard magic, this is what makes us magical. And we laugh about it. It's not magic. It is dedicated talent, but we want all of our wizards to know to be that magic, to make sure our clients have that experience when they work with us. From the minute they start talking to us to all the way through the end of their project, that they felt the magic. And sometimes people come back to us and say, " I wasn't feeling the magic today." And to us, that is a huge flag because we talk about it to ourselves. And we talk about it to our clients. And if a client ever tells me, I wasn't feeling the magic, that means we didn't step it up to the level that we expect ourselves to step up. I don't expect other IT companies in the area to be able to operate at the level we operate at or to communicate at the level we communicate at. But I do expect our team to operate at a higher level. We raise the bar. It's a big deal for us. And so be the magic is maybe the best core value that encapsulates all of the other values together. And they are all on a wheel. And in the middle of that wheel is the hub. And that hub is Wizzy our mascot. Wizzy [inaudible 00:29:21], our mascot.
Dan: You guys are great. You're the ultimate professionals. But we run out of time Sam and Jennifer.
Sam: We did.
Dan: Really like you being on the show. This was a very fascinating episode. But I do have to cut it right here, because we're out of time. But I look forward to talking with you next week on Bit-Wizards, Tip of the Wand.
Sam: I'm looking forward to it too.
Jennifer: Thanks Dan.
Sam: Take care. Bye-bye.