Shep Hyken is all about good habits. So much so, that he wrote a book about it – “Be Amazing or Go Home: Seven Customer Service Habits That Create Confidence With Everyone.”
In it, he explores ways to be successful in work and life. So, it’s no surprise that he knows what it takes to provide an amazing customer experience. To do this, we must jump into the habit of amazing every customer, every time.
While that sounds like a difficult task, it is an attainable one. And if things go south, there’s always a way to recover. The key is to avoid complacency and consistently strive for excellence in your interactions with your customers. The result is to be consistently but slightly better than average.
Because being “just average” is not an option when dealing with customers anymore.
Today’s episode of The Customer Experience Podcast, encompasses how being “slightly better than average” on a consistent basis will lead to amazing customer experiences. We talk to Shep about this process of amazing people through CX.
Shep shares what has changed in CX (and what hasn’t). He provides concepts to embrace in order to deliver that amazing customer experience. The important role of video in CX is also a point of discussion.
Shep, Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations, is a customer service expert and speaker. His experiences in the CX/CS space span three decades. He is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of several books. Fun fact: he got a shout out on this podcast on Episode 35 with Dan Gingiss.
Shep believes that the true purpose of a business isn’t just to acquire customers but to keep them. And when you focus on customers, the revenue follows.
You do this by simply being a good human.
“Be the best you can be for your customer,” Shep says.
When defining CX in the following video, he noted that the term was coined from customer service…
In fact, Shep says CX used to be called customer service. He believes it boils down to the entire experience that people have with a company or brand. It begins the moment you think about doing business with someone and consists of every interaction and connection. For example: the moment you open your new iPhone box for the first time (and all the moments that preceded it and will follow it).
“Anything that the customer does to interact with any aspect of the company is an opportunity for them to form an impression,” Shep says. “That’s what the experience is. End to end; it’s everything.”
Keep reading, watching, and listening below as Shep talks about how to achieve the ideal, amazing customer experience. We discuss:
• How to deliver an amazing customer experience
• What has changed in CX over the years
• When Shep’s amazement concepts come into play in CX
• Why video is powerful in being amazing for your customers
• Who is doing CX well in Shep’s life
Creating An Amazing Customer Experience By Being “Slightly Better Than Average”
Every episode of The Customer Experience Podcast are available here in our blog posts with writeups and video clips.
But … it’s a podcast! So you can also listen to every episode in your favorite player …
Embedded below is the entire conversation with Shep about the path to creating and delivering an amazing customer experience …
How To Deliver an Amazing Customer Experience
Shep’s title is Chief Amazement Officer, and the word “amaze” or “amazing” appears in three of his book titles. Clearly, he cares a lot about this idea.
And amazement is all about being consistent, predictable, and slightly above average. This take differs a lot from what we’d traditionally expect. Because we’re used to amazing meaning five out of five stars.
But the real challenge lies in the middle.
“The problem is in the neutral,” Shep says. “That’s the actual danger zone.”
Because if an experience was just OK or satisfactory for a customer, that’s a terrible situation to be in.
“People think that satisfied customers are what they want. But they don’t,” Shep says. “What you want is a loyal customer that is somewhat emotionally connected.”
By loyal, he doesn’t mean customers that will buy everything from you all the time. They’ll just be the ones to come back.
Imagine this scale:
Average is actually the danger point. Because let’s be honest, nobody really complains about a three.
Even bad is better than average because it can be easily fixed. “And if you fix it right, you go right back being good,” Shep explains.
“If you can be a little bit better than average all of the time, then you’re going to be thought of as amazing,” Shep points out.
You’ll be known as being always knowledgeable. Always helpful. Always responsive. And when there’s a problem (which will inevitably happen), customers will know you’re always committed to setting it right.
So, it’s not necessarily the five-star rating that you’re shooting for.
“A 3.3 or better on that scale of 1 to 5 gets you an amazing rating,” Shep says. In other words, that’s 10% better than average consistently. He explains this further in the clip below…
Is CX Changing With Time?
Want to know a secret Shep shared with me? Nothing has changed in the customer in 50 years. He elaborates on this in the video below…
“If I did a speech on customer service and experience, it would be the shortest speech ever,” Shep jokes. “I would walk out on stage, and say, ‘Be nice.’”
When customers interact with a company, they still want a good experience. And if they have a problem and need help, they will still call and want an answer.
But there is something that actually has changed in CX in the last decade. It’s what happens between the time the customer starts to do business with you and ends the interaction.
That’s because of the multiple ways that a customer can actually communicate with your business now. There’s phone calls, email, messaging, social media, apps, TV, and actual employees in stores. Even AI can be used for this (and you can learn how to use AI ethically by listening to Episode 50 with William Ammerman).
While these extra tools are adding to — and sometimes complicating — the experience, nothing fundamental is different.
“At the end of the day, the customer still wants what they originally wanted,” Shep says. “And that is the answer to their problem or a positive experience.”
The number one thing that companies should do is slightly exceed expectations – almost every time. It will garner an amazing rating if you’re always doing something positive consistently. Like being punctual, communicative or informative.
“Always is the consistent and predictable little bit above average experiences that our customers always want,” Shep says.
Speed Round: Amazing Concepts to Adopt for CX
I did a speed round with Shep asking him about what he would associate with the following concepts when it comes to CX:
Concept 1: Confidence
Confidence will actually generate trust. And this trust is “an emotional connection” between customers and the companies they’re buying into. When that is achieved, they are more likely to do business with you.
“Trust will reap the loyalty,” Shep says.
To go deeper into the relationships between trust, value, and loyalty and to learn the three components of trust, check out Episode 44 with Cory Scheer.
Concept 2: The Idea of “The Standard”
You create the standard. Because ultimately, it’s your standard. You just want to ensure that your standard aligns with the customer’s standard. And make it one that you can always maintain, and that customers will enjoy so they want more from your business.
“You may perceive yourself to have the greatest service in the world, but it’s the customer who gets to be the judge and the jury,” Shep stresses. “When you create this standard, make it one that the customer will enjoy when they experience it. That’s what gets them to come back.”
It’s also vital to make it completely clear what you expect from your employees. Because they will be the ones delivering on that standard.
Concept 3: Always Being On Stage
Believe it or not, you are always on stage — whether you’re working or not. So, you should act like you are always on stage, too. Shep details this idea in the following video…
If you act one way with customers and act a completely different way with others, who are we going to believe? Who really are you?
We need to keep personality in mind when we’re hiring people. “Nobody can fake it and make it long term,” Shep says. “The best people live their values and are their personality.”
So, be yourself, and hire employees who are willing to do the same.
Concept 4: Competitors
Awesome brands and businesses are showing people what an amazing customer experience looks like. Direct competitors don’t matter as much as this overall CX gold standard.
Shep explains why in the clip below …
“Customers no longer compare you to direct competition, but to the best experience received from anyone or any brand,” Shep says.
Concept 5: Branding
“A brand is a promise delivered,” Shep stresses. And this truly is the case. Choose a tagline you want to be known for, and deliver on the branding promise.
Concept 6: Finding Someone to Count On
Shep believes “finding someone you can count on in this life, in business or anywhere else, is a very big deal.” When a customer can count on you, the trust and confidence earned means you own that experience with them.
“We need to train our customers to let us know when there’s a problem, so they can learn that they can always count on us,” he says.
The Amazing Power of Video in CX
Shep is a big believer in video. He sends several hundred of them to clients.
He shared three tips in the video below for when to send video to continue to slightly exceed expectations and provide an amazing customer experience…
After a Speech
If Shep is speaking to an audience, he’ll send them a video with his notes from his presentation. It’s a great way to surprise clients with more than they expected.
After a One-to-One Conversation
Shep also likes to use video right after a conversation with a client to thank them. He expresses his gratitude for the work opportunity, and shares what he enjoyed and appreciated from the experience.
“They watch it again and again and again,” Shep says. “They’re showing everybody, and I love that it’s making an impact.”
After a Call With a Potential Client
After a call with a prospect, Shep will always send a video email with a recap of their conversation and restating his points.
“This really helps me get more business,” he says.
Instead of relying on faceless digital communication, video avoids a missed opportunity. It ensures your message doesn’t get lost in translation.
And it’s so light and easy, and much more personal and impactful. Video lets people know that you listened and that you care. That is so powerful in an amazing customer experience.
When Shep Was Amazed By A Customer Experience
So, who’s exceeded Shep’s expectations and provided an amazing customer experience in his life?
It’s actually a car dealership that won his business about eight years ago. He had done business with his previous dealership for 25 years, but his interaction with a salesperson at the new one changed that.
Find out why in the video below…
This dealership was able to offer Shep something that others weren’t willing to do. They put delivering an amazing customer experience above everything else. They raised the status quo. They elevated the standard.
And they kept the relationship with him alive by ensuring he didn’t have to step foot in the dealership again until he was ready for a new car purchase. Even if he needed his car serviced, they would come to him, deliver a loaner car, take his car in for service, and bring it back.
And it only took a couple of employees to make Shep a loyal customer—the salesperson and the delivery man. He explains this in the following video…
So, if you want loyal customers, you need to embrace offering an amazing customer experience all of the time. And all it takes … is being “slightly better than average.”
This post is based on an interview with Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations, Customer Service and Customer Experience expert, and New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author.
Get More From The Customer Experience Podcast
This show’s purpose is to increase intention, holism, and alignment across marketing, sales, and customer success – and from the front desk to the C-Suite – to create and deliver an amazing customer experience. It’s the most important thing we can do in our businesses every day.
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- “2 Keys to Creating an ‘Extraordinary’ Customer Experience” with Dan Gingiss, Chief Experience Officer at Winning Customer Experience
- “The 3 Components of Trust for Better Customer Relationships” with Cory Scheer, Director of Church and Community Engagement at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
- Meeting Customers’ Evolving Needs with a Customer Experience Team” with Luke Owen, former Director of Customer Experience at Formstack and current Principal CS Specialist at SaasWorks
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- James Carbary, founder of Sweet Fish Media and author of “Content-Based Networking”
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Make You Interactions Amazing With Video
With the goal in mind of aiming slightly above average in every customer interaction, video should be in your sights. It paves the way for surprising and delighting your customer.
You’re showing your customers that having a relationship with them matters to you. It can turn an average exchange into an amazing one with just a quick, personal video email.
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