If your customers are made to feel as if they are outsiders, they will eventually find a competitor who makes them feel better about doing business with them.– Shep Hyken
Good customer experience is a crucial factor as it retains customers and helps you to gain a more loyal customer base. Also, by ensuring top-notch customer service in the business, you can easily create a good brand image in the market.
As the above saying by Shep Hyken states that, if you don’t value your customers, then someone else will. It is so true; if customers get disappointed with your services, then they will share the experience with their friends and recommend not to take services from you.
That’s why it is essential to ensure effective customer service in your business. To help you out, how you can do all this in your business, we have interviewed one of the most famous customer service keynote speakers Mr. Shep Hyken who will share his journey and opinion on the same.
Shep is helping multiple organizations by conducting virtual training programs for employees so that they can amaze their customers by delivering delightful customer service.
Continue reading below and collect relevant insights from an industry expert to improve customers’ journeys in your business.
1.What was the turning point that made you decide to build a career in the customer service field, and how will you define your complete journey?
Well, I received my first customer service lesson when I was 12 years old. I performed a birthday party magic show in front of 20 little six-year-old kids.
When I returned home, my mom asked me what am I going to do after dinner? Since it was a school night, I thought the correct answer was homework. And she said, no, show appreciation to the customers, by writing a thank-you note. They just hired you and paid you $16 for that birthday party, which, by the way, back then was a lot of money.
My fathers said, great idea, but let’s take it to the next level. Next week, call the parents that hired you, asked them first, thank them again and then ask them how did you like the show and get specific? Which tricks did you like the best? Now lit it up.
Did I know that my parents were teaching me-?
- To show appreciation?
- To get feedback,
- How to improve what I have?
That’s what every company is doing today. No matter how big or small they are. And I was learning these when I was just 12 years old. And that was the start of me being interested in taking care of customers throughout my career. I’ve had several jobs before graduating from college. I worked at a gas station; I worked in retail; I worked in restaurants. And in all of those situations, my goal was to make sure the customers were extremely happy.
So I’ve been passionate about that since the very beginning. I got out of college and, when I graduated, I was looking for a job. I was working for a company in a very short time after college. They sold it.
So just about 6-9 months out of college. I decided this is the career I want to embark on doing speeches and presentations on customer service and experience. And over the years, it morphed into something bigger than I ever thought it would be.
And it’s something I’m extremely passionate about. So how will I define when my journey is complete? Well, I don’t think it ever will be. It’s ongoing. It’s a process and its progress. And the moment I stop learning and stop working, it’ll probably be because I’m headed to six feet underway. I really want my journey to be complete until it’s over for me.
2. In your opinion, what advice will you give to business to improving the customer journey??
Great question! I would say first and foremost, don’t look at customer service as a department or customer experience as a marketing strategy. Look at it as a philosophy. It’s something that needs to be embraced by everyone.
It has to be the vision of the leadership of an organization. And the people who work there have to be passionate but passionate about living and delivering on that vision. So keep it in mind. It’s cultural. It’s philosophical. It’s not a department.
It’s not a tactic. It’s not just a technique.
3. Is self-service the most used feature that is eliminating agent interference from the customer service world? If yes, then how is it affecting the business?
Why believe self-service is something that every company needs to take a look at? If that is a great way to serve their customers, at least in the beginning, for basic customer service issues, perhaps I want to check on my bank account balance.
I want to make sure that the payment was received. I want to check on a shipment to see whether if it’s in route or has even been shipped. These are the types of things that a great self-service chat says, for example.
Chatbot or an interactive voice response system. These types of self-service features or technologies can be used to eliminate unnecessary conversations so the agent can work better with the customer.
Of course, there’s another self-service function; there’s a video you can place- how-to videos on the website. You can have frequently asked questions. You can set up a forum where other customers can weigh in on the questions that customers have.
So I believe if you create these self-service technologies and features and teach the customer to use them, you’ll create a better experience for them. They’ll be able to get basic information quicker. But keep this in mind, no matter how good or how much time and effort and even money you spend on the self-service option, if the customer wants to talk to a live person, there needs to be a quick and easy way to get there.
4. Though the technologies are evolving with time, what changes have you felt before and now in customer service?
I love this question because I believe if you take a look at customer service from 20 or 30 years ago or even further back in what we have today, really not much has changed.
A customer has a problem, and they want it resolved, and they want to be treated with dignity, respect along the way. They want it to be easy. That hasn’t changed.
What has changed are the technologies that can deliver it. But overall, what the customer wants is the exact same thing. They’ve always wanted a quick response and a quick resolution to their question or their problem.
5. Irrespective of demographics, area, and type of industry, what single piece of advice will work for all the businesses?
So years ago I read a great book titled “Moments of Truth,” actually read a newspaper article several years before that. Or maybe it was a magazine article, gentlemen that wrote that was named John Carlson, the former president of Scandinavian Airlines. And he recognized that anytime that customer in his case, it was a passenger, it could be a guest, a patient, a member.
But your customer, anytime a customer comes into contact with any aspect of any type of business, they will form an impression. That impression needs to be good. It’s that simple.
6. What steps and measures will you advise to someone who is starting with a new business?
Well, obviously, you want a business that has customers, and you want to make sure that the product or service that you’re selling is something that the customers want. But I would say that what you really want more than anything is actual customers and you want them to come back again and again.
And the way to do that is to create an experience through the actual service and the process that they experience. They’re doing business with you that would make them say, yes, this was a good experience.
The people were nice to me. The process was easy. It was convenient. I didn’t have to wait. And I like the quality of the product that they have. So those are some of the basics. And I think any business, especially ones that start.
The other thing I would add, if it’s truly starting up, is to have your customer service vision and your customer experience vision in place before you begin. You want this vision to be clear so that everybody coming on-board will understand exactly what it is that you want them to do and deliver on.
7. Three necessary measures you want to share for a customer-driven organization?
All right. Let’s see three of them.
- That everybody has a customer. Be it an internal customer or an external customer. It’s everybody’s job to take care of their customer.
- To buy into the idea that we’re gonna train you on delivering an amazing customer experience, be it to the internal or external customer.
And you need to once again, going back to number one, understand your role and where you play and what you do to enhance the customer’s experience. You could be in the warehouse and never see the customer. But if you don’t pack the product properly in a box, if you don’t ship it out expeditiously, you’re gonna let down your customer even though you never see them.
- To buy into the fact that this isn’t about a department.
And I mentioned this in one of the earlier questions. Customer service is not a department. It’s a philosophy to be embraced by everybody from the leader of the organization all the way down to the most recently hired person.
8. What challenges do you face while dealing with customer service?
One of the biggest challenges companies have is an inconsistency, and that’s what erodes confidence. And therefore, they will never have loyalty because the customer can’t trust what the experience will be.
The challenge is to create a predictable, inconsistent above average experience where customers say; I like doing business with them. They’re always knowledgeable. They always get back to me quickly. They always take care of me. That word always followed by something positive. That’s the challenge; I want you to embrace. The challenge that you face is that possibility of inconsistency.
9. How will you differentiate a customer-focused business and a regular business?
Businesses are focused on people and customers and again, internal customers and external customers. The regular or typical business today is very operations focused. They’re focused on cash flow. They’re focused on managing the bottom line. They’re focused on the process where customer-focused companies are focused on the customer and what’s needed to be taken care of that customer.
So I would say the biggest difference is people-focused or customer-focused versus operations focused.
10. What are the unaccounted factors that will lead to better customer service?
I think one of the discounted factors is that people don’t put enough stock in the training that they give their people as it relates to customer service. They deliver it at the beginning. When people are onboarded, the employees are told what they’re supposed to do. Maybe even give a little training about it. Maybe once in a great while, every couple of years, there might be some type of training that is more of a refresher.
A leader is, mentioning how important customer service is. I think one of the best opportunities a company could have is to keep the message of creating a good service experience. And that comes from consistent communication. It comes from constant training.
Training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do. And the goal is you want to keep the message in front of people regularly. We have clients that have daily meetings, and they actually talk briefly, maybe just a few minutes about what happened yesterday, what could be done better or the accolades they received.
And they applaud everybody for doing a great job and figuring out how they can do that again and again. Some of our clients do it weekly. At least they’re doing it on an ongoing basis. That’s consistent and predictable.
11. Apart from all the seven strategies, you have mentioned in your book “The Amazement Revolution,” are there any other tips or strategies you would like to suggest for marvelous customer service?
Well, I thought the seven strategies were pretty good.
But seriously, I would like to add one. And it comes from a book that I wrote just a year and a half ago that I believe is going to be as revolutionary as the “Concept of Amazing Customers and Creating a Great Experience.” And that is to create a convenient experience. Low or no friction. Make it as easy as possible on the customer.
All things being equal, a great product, and a great service experience. If you can add a level of convenience on top of that, you’ll beat the competition.
12. Are you currently working on any new edition? If yes, would you like to share about it?
Yes, my new book and actually it’s not new, it’s a revised and updated edition of “The Cult of the Customer,” which came out approximately 11 or 12 years ago. It is being released, and it’s a great book that’s filled with great information, great stories, and great case studies.
And the idea behind that is there are five phases or cults that customers go through as they do business from you, starting with uncertainty leading to getting into alignment with what the company is about, then experiencing what that company is about and when it’s predictable and consistent.
They’ve experienced it a number of times, and they know it’s going to happen every time they do business. It’s been an owned experience, so they’re in the cult of ownership. And if that experience is above average, consistently and predictably, they move into the cult of amazement.
And when you amaze your customers, you don’t create satisfied customers. You create customer evangelists, people that will share who you are to the world, to their friends, to their colleagues. It works for their family members. So that’s the new book, The Cult of the Customer.
You can learn more about it by going directly to Amazon.com or go to cultofthecustomer.com.
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