This interview was made possible by our friends at Guidant Financial:
The leader in alternative startup, franchise and small business financing.
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.
MO: What are some of the main duties of a Chief Amazement Officer?
Shep: We teach our clients how to amaze their customers and employees. That’s a big part of my job. We also want to create an amazing place to work. My job is to help create that amazement, both for our clients and our team at Shepard Presentations.
MO: What are some tips or insights that companies can use to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees? What’s the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer?
Shep: First, satisfactory is a rating. It’s average. Loyalty is more emotional. It is a bond between the customer and your company. Average won’t create loyalty. The goal is to be amazing – or simply better than average. Not just some of the time, but all of the time. That’s what the best companies do. Also, most people think that loyalty is about a lifetime. That is a great goal. To make it easier, simply focus on the next time, every time. Ask yourself the question: Is the interaction that I’m having with this customer, at this moment, going to get the customer to want to come back the next time they need or want what I sell?
MO: Can you provide our readers with 5 compelling reasons that illustrate the importance of delivering an amazing customer service experience?
Shep: Here are some a few of the benefits of delivering great customer service:
1. Happy customers can lead to loyalty, which means more sales from existing customers (frequency of purchases).
2. Higher sales per transaction (higher average sale).
3. You build a reputation in your marketplace with word of mouth referrals from happy customers (your evangelists).
4. Happier employees (a customer service focused company usually is also employee focused).
5. Lower employee turn-over (employees are happier – more fulfilled – and don’t leave).
The ultimate result of this list leads to more sales, which adds to the bottom line.
MO: Congratulations on being inducted into the Speaker Hall Fame. Why do you think that you were chosen and do you have any advice for professional speakers who would love receive the same honor one day?
Shep: It was an honor to be inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame. There are a number of criteria which include platform/speaking skills, reputation in the market, image from websites, brochures, videos and more. I’m in awe of some of the super-stars in our business that are in the HOF. Why was I chosen? I’m not 100% sure. I was inducted on the 25th anniversary of my business. Over the years I’ve worked hard to hone my craft, be recognized as a thought leader in my area of expertise (customer service) and always maintained the highest level of professional standards. And now that I’m in, I have to validate the judges’ decisions and continue on that path of excellence.
MO: Your last book, “The Amazement Revolution,” was a New York Times Bestseller last year. Can you outline some of the main principles and techniques in the book that made it such a huge success?
Shep: Customer amazement is not about creating “wow” and over the top service. It is simply being better than average. But, it has to be better than average, all of the time! That said, it’s within the grasp of virtually any company that puts for the proper effort, trains their employees and focuses on creating the right culture. The seven strategies covered in the book include:
1. Create a membership experience for the customer. Make them feel special.
2. Create the right culture. Focus on FUN, where F stands for fulfillment; giving employees a fulfilling job experience. U stand for uniqueness; exploiting the unique talents of the employee. And N stands for next; employees are excited about what’s coming next.
3. Develop a partnership with your customers. This is loyalty on steroids.
4. Hire right. Make sure you are hiring the right person for the right job.
5. Give the customer a strong after-experience, which can be as simple as sending a thank you note.
6. Build a community of customers that will give you feedback and sing your praises to others.
7. Walk the walk, which is about living and breathing customer service. When it comes to delivering a great customer service, it’s everyone job.
MO: Any final suggestions you can offer our readers?
Shep: Customer service is everyone job. It’s not a department. It’s a philosophy. Everyone has a customer; either an internal customer, someone you work with, or an outside customer, someone who pays for your goods and services. Manage every interaction and make it a positive experience. Just be better than average, all of the time. That’s customer amazement!
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