Today’s interview is with Shep Hyken, a customer service expert, professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. Shep has just published a new book: Amaze Every Customer, Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering The Most Amazing Customer Service On The Planet and I was really pleased when he agreed to talk to me about the book, his experience and to share some insights.
This interview follows on from my recent interview: Smart proactive customer service that delivers results – Interview with Jim Dicso of SundaySky – and is number eighty two in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things and helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.
Here are the highlights of the interview with Shep:
- Shep is a customer service expert and has been working with companies for 30 years helping them build loyal relationships with their customers and their employees.
- Shep has written ten books on customer service, 5 of which have been co-authored.
- Recently he had a new book published called: Amaze Every Customer, Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering The Most Amazing Customer Service On The Planet
- At the start of the writing process, Shep had 15 ‘tools’ in mind but as he conducted more interviews and research the list grew to 52, of which 80-85% of the tools are new and have not been written or talked about before.
- As a foundation for the book, Shep talks about 7 ‘amazement’ principles that firms and leaders need to understand and embrace before embarking on the use of the tools.
- The principles are:
- The moment of truth which is based on Jan Carlsson’s work at Scandanavian Airlines and focuses on making every touchpoint that the customer (internal and external) has with you, your business or team as good as it can be.
- The other principles are the moments of magic, misery and mediocrity, the customer amazement principle (when it all comes together), the internal and external customer principle (if you are not serving the customer then you are probably supporting someone who is) and finally, the cult of the customer, which discusses the phases the customer goes through in their relationship with your business (uncertainty, alignment, experience, ownership, amazement).
- Shep believes that these are strategic and mindset issues that you need to consider before you are let loose on the tools.
- When American Express recruit agents for their call centre they don’t look for call centre experience. They look for hospitality experience as their focus is to build relationships with their customers. They recruit for behavioural skills and experience rather than technical experience.
- However, given that they are relationship focused, their onboarding and ongoing training does not then just focus on technical skills. Their ongoing training is 75% relationship and customer service skill related and 25% technical.
- The 52 tools in the book are split into five categories: leadership, culture, one on one, competitive edge and community.
- Rather than use a series of case studies for this book, Shep has used one company as a model of how all of the tools and principles work in practice.
- That company is Ace Hardware who have 4,600 locations in 60 countries. These locations are owned by over 3,000 different owners (not franchises). So they are both a large as well as a small business.
- They have won the JD Power award for customer service in their industry for the last seven years in a row.
- Businessweek listed them as number 10 in their Top 25 customer service brands. Ritz Carlton was number 12.
- What’s really interesting about this company is that they are predominantly small stores but they have found a way of competing with the bigger retailers by focusing on customer service. Their mantra and aim is that they want to be ‘the most helpful stores on the planet’.
- This strategy has helped them not just survive but thrive.
- Decide what your strengths are and stick to your strengths.
- In the Leadership section, the first tool is ‘Act like the owner’, this tool talks about building a mindset that encourages people to take decisions as if they were the owner of the business.
- Another tool is ‘Create a Good Last Impression’ which is related to The Primacy and Recency Effect that I have written about before. This tool is focused on the importance of creating a ‘lasting’ impression.
- One of Shep’s favourite tools is ‘One to say yes, two to say no’. In this tool he talks about creating a culture where you empower people to do the right thing and not have to ask for permission to take the right action or make a decision. Ace Hardware implemented this and it has eliminated 80% of the complaints and questions based on negative issues because their employees are empowered to take care of their customers.
- Another favourite of Shep’s is ‘To be the best place to buy from you also have to be the best place to work’. He believes that what is happening on the inside of a company is being felt on the outside of the company.
- The 52 tools are exactly that. They are tools. Now, whilst Shep may argue that they all apply to everyone, as a manager, you could pick and mix the tools that you are going to use depending on the area of your business that you would like to improve.
- The tools are also brought to life at the end of each section via a drill/exercise in the form of a set of questions that are designed to help the user identify how it applies to them and how they could use it in their business.
- Check out www.amazeeverycustomer.com where you can download the first part of the book and a sample tool from each of the five categories so you can get a better feel for the tools and how they could work in your business.
- Shep is currently working on turning the book into a two-day workshop and is also working on developing an interactive, online version of the toolkit too.
- Finally, check out www.thecustomerfocus.com which is an online virtual training resource that Shep has developed that brings the 7 ‘amazement’ principles to life.
About Shep (taken from his website bio)
Shep is a customer service expert, professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic, The Loyal Customer and the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers, The Cult of the Customer and The Amazement Revolution, which was also recognized as a New York Times bestseller. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.
In 1983 Shep founded Shepard Presentations and since then has worked with hundreds of clients ranging from Fortune 100 size organizations to companies with less than 50 employees. Some of his clients include American Airlines, AAA, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, AETNA, Abbot Laboratories, American Express – and that’s just a few of the A’s!
Shep Hyken’s most requested programs focus on customer service, customer loyalty, internal service, customer relations and a motivational program titled “You Are The Magic!” He is known for his high energy presentations which combine important information with entertainment (humor and magic) to create exciting programs for his audiences.
(CPAE, or the Council of Peers Award for Excellence, is the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame award for lifetime achievement in the area platform/speaking excellence. CSP is the international designation for Certified Speaking Professionals and is awarded to individuals for certain achievements and education in the speaking profession.)
Here’s what you should do:
- Check out www.amazeeverycustomer.com where you can download the first part of the book and a sample tool from each of the five categories
- Grab a copy of his new book: Amaze Every Customer, Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering The Most Amazing Customer Service On The Planet
- Have a look at his website: www.hyken.com and
- Connect with him on Twitter @Hyken and LinkedIn here.
Thanks to Joe Shlabotnik for the image.