Interviews | August 25, 2020
P2P Keynote Shep Hyken Creates Moments of Magic
Customer service and experience have become a focal point for most distributors, manufacturers and suppliers around the world. In today’s environment, customers are not just comparing an organization to its competitors — they’re drawing from the last best service they experienced, regardless of industry.
How can your organization step up its customer service game? In his content-rich keynote at P2P 2020: Plugged In, Shep Hyken will share strategies and “amazement tools” to create a customer-focused culture, customer loyalty, internal customer service and more. Remember, customer service is not a department. It’s a philosophy to be embraced by everyone in an organization, and when done right, gives you a serious competitive edge.
PS Magazine connected with Hyken to learn more about his background in studying customer service and what attendees can expect from his presentation.
What drew you to become an expert in the area of customer service?
At the age of 12, I started my first business as a birthday party magician. When my mom picked me up after that first show she asked what I would do after dinner. Because it was a school night, I thought the correct answer was homework, but it was to write a thank you note. That was my first lesson in customer service.
Then my dad said to call the parents and ask which tricks the kids liked best. I would continue that process and any tricks that weren’t mentioned were cut from my act. I didn’t know it then, but I was asking for feedback and undergoing process improvement.
I learned these skills at a young age and knew good customer service was the right thing to do. I have carried that with me throughout my professional life, working hard for others, showing my appreciation and asking how I can improve.
What are some best practices for creating a culture of customer service within a company, so it becomes more than just a department?
I believe customer service is a philosophy, or part of the culture to be embraced by the CEO, all the way to the most recent hire, and everyone in between.
The first part of creating this culture is recognizing everyone has a mission to take care of their customers, whether they are external clients or internal employees. Another major piece is making sure everyone is trained. It doesn't matter what their position is. They have to understand the company’s basic tenets and the vision for customer service. And it goes beyond onboarding, too — it's an ongoing practice.
When you think of a gold standard for customer service, what companies come to mind and why?
Let's talk about the company that has gold standards: the Ritz Carlton, which created 24 gold standards that drive a great customer experience. Every day they start their meetings by sharing one standard with the entire team, in every hotel within the system. By the end of the year, employees have heard these standards at least 10 times. That’s a great example of ongoing training.
When I ask an audience what's the easiest company you do business with, 99% say Amazon. They've taken a digital experience and made it personal. They remember what you bought and ask if you need it again. Once you enter your information, you can buy things with a click. The moment you make a purchase, Amazon sends an email with tracking information. In some cases, you even receive a photo of the package on your doorstep. That creates confidence.
Then you look at Zappos. I love that this is a digital company with a phone number on every page. They made it clear that if you have a question about anything, you can call their people and they’ll find a way to help. That is a customer-focused company.
Can you share a teaser of some of the “amazement tools” you’ll cover in your presentation?
Amazement is within the grasp of every company. It's not about being over the top, but it’s better than average. The best companies have a system in place and people properly trained to manage imperfections. Oftentimes, when issues are resolved correctly, that experience creates an even stronger bond between the customer and the company.
We’ll also discuss what I call a Moment of Magic®. You can have a Moment of Misery™ or you can have a Moment of Magic®. That's an underlying principle I share in every single speech I deliver.
I’ll also talk about the convenience principles I've written about. The best companies in the world don't just deliver great service, or have a great product to sell; they also make it easy to do business with you.
How have you seen customer service change in the last five years? In the last five months?
Fundamentally, nothing has changed. A customer comes to you with a need, a problem or a question. When they're finished with that interaction, they want to be happy. It’s the same as it was 10, 20, 50 years ago, and it will be the same five years from now.
What has changed is what happens in the middle to drive it. Over time, technology has allowed us to create a better experience. We're able to get back to people more quickly and use digital technology to support our customers. They may want to know where in the process their product is and we can give them the tools to do that.
What's happened in the last five months is not about what expectations have changed, but what has changed in customers’ and companies’ behaviors. Fear causes an awful lot to happen. It can cause stress, short tempers, withdrawal or indecision. Other times people are resilient to stress. The pandemic has magnified the personalities of the people and companies we do business with. If a company was customer focused before the pandemic, they're going to be even more so, and vice versa.
In the end, we as business owners want a couple of things for our customers:
- We want them to be happy.
- We want them to have an experience they would be willing to share with others in a positive way.
- We want them to come back.
Of all the metrics a company looks at — net promoter score, customer satisfaction, customer efficiency — the one measurement that matters most is whether they come back. Loyalty is not about a lifetime. It turns into that, but loyalty is about the next time, every time. What am I doing now to make that customer want to come back and do business with me the next time they need something?
Business/Growth Strategies Customer Service Company Culture P2P