Creating Amazing Experiences for Customer Loyalty w/ Shep Hyken


What would you rather do — go to the dentist or call customer support? Forty-eight percent of us say they'd rather have the root canal.

Creating customer amazement by delivering consistent, predictable above-average service is what brings people back to your business again and again.

In this first episode of Five9’s newly rebranded Dare to Reimagine podcast, I interview Shep Hyken, chief amazement officer at Shepard Presentations, about the role of amazement in customer experience. 

Join us as we discuss:

- The keys to creating amazement in customers

- Being slightly better than average, aka the extra degree

- Empowering employees to deliver excellent service

- Embracing the basics: appreciation, feedback, and improvement

Check out this resource we mentioned during the podcast:

I’ll Be Back by Shep Hyken

Ready to rethink what’s possible in CX? Subscribe to every episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Listening on a desktop and can’t see the links? Just search for Dare to Reimagine in your favorite podcast player.

..." Fine does not mean fine. Fine is a four- letter word that starts with F, and it' s the F- bomb of customer experience. because fine is a fake smile, an insincere feedback.' It' s fine!' No, It' s not. It needs to be better than fine." You' re listening to Dare to Reimagine: a Podcast for CX Innovators, brought you by Five9. Each episode will bring you bold new ideas from the innovators who are transforming customer experience and changing the way businesses connect with customers. We Dream big, We don' t hold Back and We dare to reimagine the customer experience. ready? Let' s get started! Welcome, everyone, to the first episode in the newly rebranded Five9 Dare to Reimagine podcast with me, your new host Genefa Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer at Five9, technology enthusiast, and superfan of great customer experience. on this first episode, I am super excited to welcome Shep Hyken, practitioner, speaker, and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling Author. Shep, Welcome to the show, and thank you for joining us on Dare to Reimagine! well, Thank you, Genefa, and great to be here, great to see you justice. Why don' t you give us the Shep Hyken elevator pitch? So... if you were sitting next to me on an airplane and you say,' Shep, what do you do for a living?' I would ask you: Have you ever walked away from a business or hung up the phone and you thought to yourself,' wow, That was an amazing experience .' Has That ever happened to you? I hope it has."" Yeah, I don' t know, normally it' s, I could think of all the bad experiences."" Well Let' s go with a good one, because that' s what I help my clients achieve is to create that customer amazement, to make people say wow, you know, I' and I do it by they hire me to speak at events. We have training programs. I have trainers that actually deliver the content. I have... online training suite of courses that clients use and plus a number of other ways that we help our clients create those amazing experiences."" Wonderful, I love it, I love it. Now, the podcast is all about daring to reimagine, Shep, and often to reimagine you need to be inspired. So why don' t you tell our listeners a bit about who or what is something that inspires you, and how do you apply that to the approach of customer experience?"" Sure– and I thought about, people ask me this question all the time, and I think what inspires me? there' s plenty of people in books that I admire; there' s mentors. I want to go way back to my childhood, When I was 12 years old and I started my first business. it was a birthday party magic show business, and I came home after my first magic show and my mom said – it was a Wednesday, it was after school– My Mom said, ' What are you going to do after dinner?' I thought the correct answer was, do homework. Instead, she said. No. when I told her I' m going to do homework, she goes,' go write a thank- you note to those people that just paid you– at the time it was$ 15. but that was a lot of money back Then – they paid you money to do that Show.' and my dad said, ' Well, that' s a great idea. next week, I want you to call the parents who hired you, I want you to thank them again, and I want you to ask them How did you do. You know, like, did they like the show, and ask them what tricks they liked. Get specific, and if you do this enough times, you ' ll start to hear the same tricks over and over again. So you know those are great tricks. you also hear tricks that you don' t you won' t hear about– certain tricks– get rid of those and replace them with tricks They start talking about. Now, I had no idea that this was, like, the basics of customer service. It' s show appreciation, get feedback, use the feedback to make your process– In my case, it was a show– even better, and I have lived with that. and when I decided to do this for a living, I didn' t realize it was already in my heart. It was in my DNA, it' s what I' d been taught since I was little. so I would say that is what inspired me, and I believe that...

...those ideas can be used today with every company that I work with, large and small."" Wow, I love that, and I love the going back to basics, right? the simple things, the little things I think, that' s a lost art. I have a similar story. Actually, one of the sales people that I worked with a long time ago, wrote me a hand written Thank- you note in the world of email and twitter and video blogs and all the rest of it, hand written note, it came on a little card. It was probably about 10 years ago, I still have it, I still remember it. I love that story. I love that story. that' s excellent! I' m going to put all of these things together at the end of at the end of like, we' ll Do, I don' t know, six months or a year' s worth of podcasts, and we' ll put all of these tips and tricks and inspiring stories together. We' ll have a full book of inspiration. I hope we get lots of different stories like that. I love it. Okay, so let' s get into it. One of my favorite quotes or even concepts that we seen in several of your books and online, Shep, is the concept of being better than average or be better than average All of the time. or, as one of your books are even called, be amazing or go home. So you know, I love that, it' s a bold statement, tell me a little bit about it."" sure, So, First of all, I choose the word amazement to be a little bit different. A lot of people talk about wow and wow, most people think of its blow me away over the top service and when you say well, it should be amazing. Well, that ' s the same thing. Well, okay, but let' s break it down and let' s say, it doesn' t have to be that way. If you want to create customer amazement, all you have to do– and this is my belief, and it' s been backed up by research, and it' s backed up by some of the greatest, what I would call customer service and experience icons out there. It' s just simply be consistently and predictably a little bit better than average. Here is what you want your customers to say about you and your company. They' re always so friendly, they' re always knowledgeable, they' re always...

...helpful. It' s so easy! I always get through to them quickly. They always get back to me quickly. Even when there' s a problem. I know I can always count on them, so that word always, you' ll notice, is in every one of those sentences. That ' s the consistency in the predictability, and then it' s followed by something that the customer wants. I want them to go back to me quickly. Will they always get back to me quickly? I want them to give me answers. They' re always knowledgeable. Do you see what I' m talking about? It' s very simple in that approach. now, for companies that want to do the above and beyond, recognize that those are simple opportunities. They don' t come often that drop in your lap. You have an opportunity to save a customer' s Day. Somebody calls, and you have to do something a little bit more than normal in order to make that customer happy. but day in and day out, if you just constantly think of,' what does it take to be amazing, just be better than average all the time?" I share with you real quickly Horace Schultz, who is the first president and Co- founder of the Ritz- Carlton, came up with his version of well, it' s unbelievable customer service and experience right, and he talks about this as well. He said you just have to be better than average, and I said,' well, I' ve been saying that as well. how much better than average do you think we need to be?' and he said, just be 10 percent better than average. Ten per cent. really, on a scale of one to five, three is average. That means you' ve got to be a three point three, but the idea is, if you' re always at least a 3. 3 and never drop to just simple average, That ' s when you start to make your customers amazed. and his definition of average in in real life is, in your hotel– in his hotels– if you' re walking through and one of the staff is there, they will say, good morning. they will always acknowledge you. You don' t get that at every hotel, but that' s just a little something extra and if they know your name, they acknowledge you by name anyway. I can go on and on about that, we can talk far longer than this PODCAST is actually going to be, so I' ll let you ask the next question."" No, no, but I think it' s, I think it' s great, and I have people who who know..., who' ve worked with me, know that I have a favorite of mine Is the concept of 212. So, if you' re going in American terms, at two hundred and eleven degrees, water is hot at two hundred and twelve degrees, it boils. And with boiling water comes steam, And with steam you can power a locomotive. So Sam Parker And Mac Anderson, their little book on 212, the extra degree, I think really just talks about the so much power that can be that extra degree and in customer service...""... that one little degree...." one little extra thing: the it' s the saying your name when you walk in the door. it' s the when you get to the website, It says,' Hi, Genefa."' Hi, Shep," It looks at what you' ve been looking at before and makes it relevant. I love that. consistency, relevant, that one extra degree, that just going above average because unfortunately, we do live in a world where there' s a lot of customer experiences, that are average, and in a lot of cases, below average. So I think average is not good, which is not good. average is really worse than people think it is because, when it' s bad, you might actually hear about it. and when you start the fix what ' s bad, you fix it for a lot of people, but when it' s average, you don' t hear about it. People really don' t complain. You know average is like,' well, How is everything?'' it was fine.' You know, I joke about this word that starts with F and it' s the F bomb of customer experience, because fine is a fake smile, insincere feedback.' it' s fine.' No, it' s not! it needs to be better than fine."" I like that. I like that, to be the difference between when you' re speaking to a British person or an American person, the difference in the word, quite. if someone says in the UK that good. So I I like that things to watch out, for especially those...

...of you who' ve got UK customers if they say that it was a quite good experience... Don' t take that as a win, So, okay right, what we want is brilliant. What we want is brilliant. What we want is amazing. What we want is always consistently above average. I like that. So, and keep it with our theme, and you ' ve already talked about Ritz- Carlton, But what is the most daring thing that companies should be doing to make the customer experience better? or, how have you even seen customers best reimagine their approach to customer experience in order to get these amazing experiences that you talk about?"" All right, so that' s two questions. Let me hit the first one. the daring is to truly empower your people to deliver the service they need to deliver. You hire good people, You train them. Well, you teach them where the line and the sand is they can' t cross. You tell them what the absolute non negotiable- You cannot- do- this. Perhaps it ' s because it' s illegal, immoral, and it might cost the company a lot of money, but once you get past those non negotiables, then you could say: Look, Use your best judgment. That' s why we hired you. daring companies take a chance and they realize they' re really not taking a chance when they figure it out. And they put a lot of power to their employees to do the right thing. So that ' s number one. Your second question, I want to make sure I address it properly. What was that? What are companies doing to reimagine? Is that right, yeah?" Yeah, We reimagine the customer experience, think differently, but where have you seen some great examples of that?"" So well, I' ve seen a lot of great examples and I can talk about all the great iconic companies that everybody absolutely understands. I think there ' s several ways I' m going to go, but I' m going to go with this concept of convenience because I just was reading a great article today about the winners and losers during the last I don' t know almost a year and a half during the pandemic. and the winners obviously had...

...what customers wanted, but they had something else. They created a convenient experience. and in the world of retail, Amazon is the ultimate in convenience. and we can learn a lot from them in understanding how they position their process with the customer. but in the world of the Support Center and taking care of our customers, what is what is convenience? Well, eliminating friction, making sure it' s real easy to get to us. If you send somebody to a website and they' re dealing with a chatbot, and the chatbot' s not doing it for the customer, is there a seamless, and convenient, and easy way to get to a human. there' s using technology to drive a more convenient experience, making sure the customer doesn' t have to take extra steps, there' s all kinds of different ways that you can bake convenience in your strategy and I think that' s what the most innovative companies are doing. It' s not that they have better people. they all have, and I shouldn' t say all many of these companies have great people, but now we have to give them a process that works not just for them, but also for the customer and create convenience on both sides."" I like that, I think that removing the friction is really key. That' s a definite one. So, you said : There' s the ones that we all know about. What might be a great customer experience– I' ll put you on the spot here– maybe a more obscure one, one that you may have experienced yourself personally, and you don' t have to necessarily name the brand. you can if you want to but just what, what was a great experience that you' ve had recently that may you who lives in this world all of the time wake up and go' Wow, that was amazing?'"" You already mentioned it, okay, when you said you are, you still have that thank you note from 10 years ago? I' ve got a thank you note from 30 years ago, from a taxi cab driver, who was unbelievable. He was like, you know, If you can imagine the Best Uber driver...' ve ever had; the best taxi driver. This was it. the guy picked me up and he had waters on a little bucket of ice. he had candy. he offered me an opportunity to see one of the landmarks. It was a flat rate from downtown out to the airport in Dallas, Texas, and he said I' m not going to charge any extra money. We saw this fountain and he was so I did it just because I knew he was excited about it and then you know, like, four days later, he asked me for a business card. We exchanged cards. He told me to call him when I come back, but when I got home four days later, he sent me a thank you note and it was really nice and I thought, oh I' m, going to call this guy the next time I come back and I came. I did- and I got to know this guy a little bit and here' s what' s really cool. He quit the company He worked for. now, This is back in the 1980s. He quit the company He worked for because He didn' t like the way his boss treated customers. get that. so he became a cab driver just to make money until he found another job. and what he realized quickly, is if he treated customers better, and he gave them his card, they might come back, and they did. The average cab driver back then made less than$ 20, 000 a year, which was an okay living, not a great living, but within about a year, he was making more than$ 100, 000 a year which, in today' s standards, that' s probably$ 200,$ 250, 00 a year. You know in today' s money think about that. It' s because he understood how to take care of the customer, and that, thank you note is a reminder to me to always show appreciation and recognize the little– I call them amenities, If you will that you add to the experience, just, for example, what we' re doing today, I didn' t show up right on the hour. I showed up one or two minutes before we spent a little bit of time on the front end for this interview, understanding what it was about, so we can give or audience the very very best. Those are things that sometimes most guests won' t do. They just show up and they hope they have. The right answers to me hope it' s not a strategy. It'...

...s got to be planned."" I live that. I live that. remembering that customers have a choice. customers have a choice, and you know, therefore, being great. We should all be grateful for our customers and the fact that they want to do business with us and that they' re choosing us. and I think, that' s a really important thing to remember as a brand. Well, you know I I like to end these with a bit of a tip of the week. I feel like you' ve already given us so many tips, and before we go into a bit of a recap, Shep, if you could, what would be your tip of the week to help the CX community listening on how to best either reimagine their CX, realize results, or both? It could be an app, a stat, something that' s going to help them, create a wake - up moment within their team or their company."" Sure, Well, I' m going to give you a little stat and this will kind of set this-- I' m going to get a two- part answer. Here' s the stat. in my recent study, we went out and we surveyed over a thousand consumers, weighted to the U. S. census of age, geography, ethnicity, etc, etc, and we asked them some fun questions mixed in with some serious questions. One of the questions is : Would you rather go to the dentist, or call customer support? And apparently 48 percent of people would rather have a root canal than have to wait on hold and get transferred one to another to another. Okay, so I say that, but let' s talk about this. How do you know if you' re doing a good job? I have a new book coming out titled," I' ll be back: how to get customers to Come back again and again, and in this book I' ll be back, That' s what you want your customers to say. I' LL BE BACK! So how do you do it? Well, you can take a look at history, and when you use customer sat CSAT- type surveys, NPS net promoter score, I think those are very, very valid. You' re measuring good information. But what you' re doing is you ' re measuring history, so you' re getting a history lesson. What...

I want to know is behavior. you need to measure the behavior, and that is, Does the customer come back? and that' s what we want to do. Our customer support departments shouldn' t be called customer service departments or customer support. They should be called customer attention. They should be called revenue generation, because that' s what these people do, day in and day out. that' s what your technology is driving customers to do, is they' re going to say, I love doing business with that company because– use that word– they always– fill in the blank with something good."" I love it. They always fill in the blank. So many lessons learned. as we were going through, I mean, the big ones that stood out to me, defining the non negotiables. Empowering your employees. Remove the friction. don' t settle for" fine," it ' s the F bomb of customer experience. and be consistently amazing and always ask the question: Will Your customer want to come back, and does your customer come back? and I love that stat. and we need to collectively, as a community, get that number down, because no one wants a root canal. Everyone should want to engage with their provider and with brands, because we should be making amazing experiences. Shep Hyken, you so much for joining us, and thank you all for listening to this episode of the Dare to Reimagine podcast. Absolutely phenomenal, so many key takeaways, really appreciate your time, Shep."" Thank you. My pleasure." reimagine customer experience with Five9. For over 20 years, Five9 has been helping companies worldwide chart a path to a reimagined CX. learn more at Five9. com. That' s F- I- V- E The number 9 dot com. You ' ve been listening to Dare to Reimagine, a Podcast for CX Innovators, brought to you by Five9. To make sure you never miss an episode be sure to follow the show in your favorite podcast player. Thanks for listening...

...until next time.

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