Grow Trust in Your Brand with Consistency & Predictability


Nearly half of us would rather go to the dentist than call customer support. At heart, it’s a trust issue, and consistency and predictability lies at the core of great CX.

Hear our conversation with Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations, LLC:

- Why customer experience and customer expectations must be equal

- What “skimpflation” is and how brands should respond

- How to use chatbots seamlessly and effectively for great CX

More information about Shep and today’s topics:

- LinkedIn profile:

- Company website:

- I’ll Be Back by Shep Hyken

Ready to rethink what’s possible in CX? Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.

You're listening to Dare to Reimagine, a podcast for CX innovators, brought you by five nine. 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. Hello everyone, and welcome to this episode of the Dare to Reimagine podcast. My name is Genefa Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer at Five9, and today's podcast, which we're recording specially for Five9 Day, for those of you who use the American date format, I am joined by arguably the godfather of CX customer experience, Shep Hyken. Welcome Shep! Well, thanks for having me here. Excellent! And for those of you who've been regular listeners to the Dare to Reimagine podcast, you will know that Shep joined us on our inaugural podcast, and that is why we are so happy to have him back again. And Shep has been busy at work with his team, and so we have got a whole new bunch of stats and facts to share with you. And for Shep to be able to actually give his point of view. So I got to preview some of the new research, Shep, that you will be publishing soon. So we're going to unpack the highlights, we're going to pick our top three stats and facts, talk about the a bit more and then, if we can, we'll dive a little bit deeper into some of the other areas of the report. Sound like a plant, sounds like a great plan. Congratulations. Five nine to your organizations, kind of like Sinco de Mayo to Mexico. Just love, which was just a few days ago exactly. It's exciting times. Any reason for a celebration. We love a celebration. We live to celebrate our customers, our partners, the whole CX nation. So were so any excuse for a party. Five nine. We are there. We live to do that. So very exciting. Good. Okay, let's get started. The first step that I want to bring up Shit, is a step that you had. Forty nine percent of customers, that's needy half of customers, reported having more bad customer service experiences in the past year compared to previous years. Now, I thought that was interesting because I don't know, we live in the world of customer experience. So we talked about it all the time. But just unpack that. Give us some of your shorts on now or first of all, these stats kind of surprised me because a few years ago, when I looked at the ACSI, the American Customer Satisfaction Index, it looked to me like in every industry, especially the leaders within those industries, every industry, including the government, was showing higher levels of customer satisfaction. However, a number of years ago, before the pandemic, it started to flip around a little bit, and I'm going to tell you why. I think that's that's happening. And, by the way, in the last year,...

I have a reason that specifically, the last year has been harder. But the pandemic didn't make anything easier, that's for sure. But I think what's happened is that there's some rock star companies out there that are just raising the bar for what customer experience is supposed to be. As a result, customers have higher expectations about what they get from any type of company in any type of business. Be Toc be to be, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what you sell and it doesn't matter how you sell it, you need to create an experience that is on par with what your customers expectations are. Amazons created a huge bar for what convenience in doing business, you know, being very easy is all about and, of course, for great customer service. And you look at other companies and if you're in the B Tob World, you might be saying, does this really work for me? So I'm working with a major healthcare organization and there was an imaging device that costs well over a half a million dollars, probably closer to a million dollars, and the hospital had to build out a special area room with the right temperature, the right electricity, etc. Etc. And the I was at the hospital win this showed up and it showed up two weeks early. Now you would think that most people would be excited that their big purchase showed up early. However, the setting wasn't right yet. They hadn't yet done the build out. And this is exactly what the executive said to me. Goes you know, I ordered toilet paper from Amazon and they send me an email to tell me it's on its way. Why didn't this company do it? You know? Yeah, the beauty of being proactive. Right. That's the day, right. So that's number one. Is recognized. Companies out there are creating great high bar for us to reach and we need to meet those expectations. Number two, there's a word that you may or may not have heard of called SKIMP flation, and it's a fun word, skimp flation, skip flash, and it's not my word. I didn't invent it. I wish I had, but I think I'm the only one using it at this point. It was mentioned in a podcast about two months ago on PBS and I heard this, I go this is exactly the problem, because companies have been forced to skimp on the experience that customers have, not because they want to, but because supply chain issues have made it hard sometimes to get the merchandise or get the components to go into whatever it is they're they're building for their customers. Therefore, there's delays and and delays and and that kind of a call that you have to make. It's not really good customer experience. It's negative, but maybe the customer understands it if it's approached and presented the right way. And number two, with the Labor shortage and the whatever you want to call the great resignation, the great alignment, whatever you want to call it. As a result, companies haven't been able to keep their best people, or maybe they've had a reduced force. And what that means is you've got to find ways to, you know, make it work. We don't want to skimp on the services that customers are going to experience, but unfortunately companies...

...are being forced to and some of them aren't adopting real quick example, I'm in New York, I'm having dinner, or I'm actually not. They're having breakfast at the restaurant that I had dinner the night before the hotel and I noticed half the tables were open but there was a line to sit down and yet the night before totally filled. So I asked the manager about it as well. In the evening we have the staff will, we won but we're struggling in the morning getting staff to come in at five and thirty in the morning. So, rather than give a bad experience, we just shut down half the restaurant in not put people in those tables, but I promise you you're going to be seated and under ten minutes and it's going to be amazing. And I said okay, I can wait ten minutes, and it was only five or six. So we exceeded my expectations and when I sat down as it was exactly what I had expected and had experienced the night before with this great restaurant and the great service they provide. Now, had they filled that table, all those tables with customers, guests, would have happened? It would have been a long time to get my food out, I might have not seen the servers often as I should. Hence they were fighting skimp inflation in the right way. That's it. You've actually already touched upon one of my of the fivorite stops that came from the rapporting some of the examples that you guys, which was eighty one percent of customers expect companies to reach out to them as soon as possible if there is a problem with that order or surveys. Now I love this one. Yeah, because there is, if there's one thing that first strikes me more than anything, it's being caught off God when there is no need for it. Right, everyone gets caught off God sometimes and sometimes you can't do anything about it, but when there is no need for it, that's what it's really frustriding. So I love the example you gave because it's about expectation setting, it's about communication, it's about being proactive. So what are some of the things that you're seeing companies really thinking about and doing to enable this? Because it isn't well and good to say, okay, we can be proactive and we can do these different things, but what are some of those underlying preciples that customers have to be thinking about if they don't want to be in, you know, langed, in that frustrated customer zone, right? So there it's real simple. One Word Communication. You even use that word a moment ago, and the reason is if you just simply communicate what the issue is, what the concern is, what the delay is, what the expectation of when it will be there, the customer feels like they have some sense of control over what's going on. And I'll give you a very generic example, but, by the way, communication, and I use Amazon real quick. What they do? As soon as you place the order, you're immediately informed via email your order has been placed. Then it's been shipped and here's the tracking information and you can watch it, track it and they even send you a picture when it shows up. But that's that's their version of letting you know what's going on, which it's that that you love getting emails, it's you love feeling a sense of control because because you have the knowledge of what's happening. So I'm sitting... an airport. The flight supposed to leave at four o'clock in the afternoon. It's now three hundred and forty five. There's no plane and I know it takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to get people off the plane and another twenty plus minutes to get them on the plane. I can guarantee bet my entire life savings that we're going to be late. But guess what? The Gate agent is behind the counter and all that gate agent is doing is answering questions and dealing with the complaints. Where's the plane? Are we going to believe what time is going to take off? All the agent had to do was pick up the microphone and say Hell, everybody in the gate area, the plane is on its way. It's going to land at ten minutes to the hour. As soon as it lands, we get people off, will you'll be boarding about ten and we will be out of here by thirty and given the way the pilot's routing is, we shouldn't be more than ten minutes later. That's going to be a problem. Now, come and see me guess what when that happens, and it happens in other experiences I've had on the airline. Yeah, you can look around the area and this is what people do. They're comfortable again, they know there. They feel like I've got a sense of control, I know what's going on. I'm not worried anymore, I'm not stressed. Companies need to be proactive. No, I think it's Kate. I think it's Kate. Companies need to be proactive. They need to communicate on your one thing that I always say is it's so simple, but people forget to do so often. Put yourselves in the shoes of the customer. Right, if you're that gay agent, stop, pause for a second and think what would I be thinking if I was sitting here waiting to get on that plane? What would I be thinking about when I'd ordered a product online? What would I want to happen to me? And make that experience the best for your customers. So I love that. I think it's so key and I think it comes down to this other element that you raised in your report, which was about trust. Such a powerful word, trust, and this is very much you know, we are on five nine day. Trust is one of the key components. Trust and transparency key components of how we operate at five nine. And in your study you found that eighty three percent of customers trust a company or brand more if they provide an excellent customer experience, and that was up four percent from two thousand and twenty one. Now, trust means so many different things to so many different people. I actually published a post on Linkedin a couple of weeks ago that talked about the trust equasition, what does trust mean in the world of CX and how can our listeners create it and, importantly, retain it? Yep, so I think you've done a great job of setting up it. You use the word transparency a moment ago. It's all part of the customer experience...

...and I think you know what kind of a company are. Are you the kind of company like I've been doing business with this CPA firm or this law firm or a favorite, you know, manufacturer for thirty years. They have my back. I know I can trust them. That's a different kind of trust than because you trust the company, you trust the people, but when it comes to customer experience, what you have to trust is the experience, and what that means is two words, confidence and predictability. You have to give that customer the experience that they want to start with and that customer has to be confident that the next time they do business with that company they can predict it's going to be a similar experience. And when you have that consistency and predictability, the word always is used to describe something positive about the company. They're always so knowledgeable. When I call them, they always get back to me really quickly, when I email them, text them, you know whatever, however I reach out to them, the word always followed by something positive. That's what is that consistency and predictability is what drives the trust level higher and it's like a double edge store. Well, if they're treat me this nice, they must be a pretty good company. And by the way, it's a double edged sword for a very good reason on both sides, and that's what you're looking for. Trust is and David Horsager, who is one of the world's authorities on trust, and I've read as books and I read his annual trust US report that comes out every year. I believe the trust is every bit as an important asset is anything you have as an asset of the company, and without trust, your customers aren't going to come back again and again and again. They'll go somewhere else that they do trust. Yeah, no, a hundred percent. I think it's and it's it's so hard because it can be seemingly intangible, but all those things you talked about, their consistency, predictability, confidence, having that always and then something positive. I think that it's just such an important thing that one thing you talked about there actually was getting the customer that information. Now another another piece, getting the customer information. That's something we talked about all the time. How do we you know whether you call it first contact resolution or you think about average handle time or all of these different stats and facts that you can look at. One thing that was in your survey, which was really interesting actually, was seventy one percent of people surveyed said Yes to using self service tools, seemingly so that they can get their information and they can get their info fast and immediately. But when given the choice most of them want to talk to a human agent. Yes, now, sometimes people associate self service with just not speaking to any agent at all. So help us Decideh for it a little bit. How do those two different pieces live to get the I...

...think they can, but what's your point of view? Shot? Oh, they they do live together. And you're right. And what's really fascinating, and I'm going to put my glasses on the share the stat with you, is that, yes, sixty five percent of the customer survey, even though seventy one percent said that they are willing to use the digital experience. And let's define what that is in a moment. Sixty five percent chose the phone is the number one but let me tell you why. If you look at baby boomers, older generation, eighty six percent of them said I'd rather go to the phone first, versus fifty one percent of Gen Z, eighteen to twenty five year olds. So you need to understand your cost. Fifty percent is still a lot. For Jen's. I would have thought that was a would have been different. Yeah, and here's the other thing. If you look the difference between fifty one and eighty six percent, that's, if I do my math right, that's about a sixty percent difference in your age demographics. You must understand your customers to know how to deliver the service to them. But let's talk about how they coexist, because I think that was one of your questions. Yeah, the digital experience could be a frequently ask question. Knowledge based. That's on your website, that's easy to understand, easy to search. It could be video tutorials that pop up. I remember doing business with a company, a software company. I wanted to their CRM company. I said, so, what do I do when I need customer support? They just go to Google and type. And how do I do this on the company and video tutorials from the company, as well as customers of the company, left video tutorials on the today. How thought, wow, and I kept thinking of the hardest questions I could ask and I type them in. So sometimes we have to teach our customers to use these resources. Because, as a result of that, if I had not asked that question, I don't think my sales rep would have told me and my first problem. I would have picked up the phone, been put on hold, maybe had to submit, you know, a ticket, as some of US have to do in the B tob world especially. So bottom line is, you know, you've got to take a look at what the process is now the phone versus human. If you're going to use artificial intelligence to like drive a Chatbot, the Chat Bot has to be smart enough to recognize the context and the sentiment of the response that the customer has. I love this example. I won't tell you the name of the company, but I'm on their website and I'm getting ready to buy a docking station for my computer. Now I have a docking station that when I plug the docking station into the back of my computer, that's the only chord that goes in there. It then connects to my monitors, my keyboard and it charges my computer. But somebody else in our office is another docking station that requires the connection to the dock as well as the connection to the power separate and that power connection comes with the computer. But what happens if I keep that in my briefcase is every time I come in, is that mean I've got to take the court out, unwrap it plug it in. So what I did is is I'm buying this...

...docking station. It's a long story. I'm going to make it real short. Little Chat Bot pops up and says can I help you? Now? I don't know if this chat Bot or maybe it's a human being, but I know it was a chat Bot because I typed in. Does this docking station, when plugged into the computer, charge the computer? Question Mark and the response almost instantly comes back and says which computer do you want to purchase? I do not want to purchase a computer. I respond. I want to purchase the docking station, but I need to know do I need a second chord to plug the do the computer into the wall for power, or does the docking station charge the computer right back? which computer are you interested in purchasing? So it's like it's not working. And at that point the chap bought should have been smart enough, and it should have been, because this was a huge, huge retailer, to be able to say I'm obviously not answering this customers question. Let me get them to a human who can and seebody. But instead you got you got stuck in the what I call the the death loop of chat bots. Yes, see, the dark death loop of Chap Bots, because I have been stuck there before. And by the end of that death loop of Chat Bots, you are so frustrated banging the keyboard that the chap bought is not understanding, and that's exactly when you want choice. Yeah, and that is why I think when you have to think, digital is awesome and we should all be looking at digital and how to implement self service, but it has to be context aware and it has to be about giving choice, because at that point you have you have lost a lot of trust points at that point and you need it. You need to start racking those trust points and those customer experience points right back up again, and that's when you know a human agent is going to probably help do that job for you. Right. And then let me emphasize that we want our customers to use digital first. Yeah, the airlines, Delta Airlines, was, I believe, the first airline to come out with the online check in and the online reservation system. And in order to do that, as the other airlines came on, they gave you incentives like to fifty two hundred and fifty extra bonus miles or whatever, and people tried it and they liked it and it was easier. But guess what, there's always a phone number for you to call if you need to call. But you know that if you do this right, it's going to be faster, quick or easier by using the digital solution. Now I'm going to add. If you need to transfer somebody to the human to human experience, make it seemless, make it easy. Don't make people wait on hold. Now, if you do have to make them wait on hold, at least give them the option of a call back. Tell them how long it's going to be. That technology is not expensive anymore. Youse be, but it's so easy to have there's no excuse for you not to say your whole time is x number of minutes. You can stay on or we'll call you back when it's your turn. And you know everybody's going to be happy, at least happier with that solution and...

...being able to transfer seamlessly not have to tell the story all over again. It should be true. I'm NI channel experience of I'm dealing with something here. I shouldn't have to start all over just because I'm talking to a human. There's there's great software, and I bet we know a company that provides that kind of experience. Maybe, maybe, might be ninety one that has a number in its name. You know my being my it's it's incled the mile five further up. You know, maybe I'm made, but oh no, this is and should we could go on for a long time going through all of the stats and facts in your report because they just give such great insights. Thank you. Great things for people to think about and to sort of take that pause and say, HMM, okay, am I in that? You know, am I in that percentage of people who are frustriding my customers, or am I in that winning percentage where I'm removing the friction, I'm making it more seamless, I'm being consistent, I'm being predictable. So I know we could talk forever, but we do have to wrap up, and we always wrap up the debt to reimagine podcast, with a little tip or a trick, a tip of the week, if you will so check. What is your tip of the week to give to our to our listeness sure, and by the way, this comes straight out of the report. It's another stat and that is so. We asked over a thousand customers, would you rather go to the dentist or call customers support? And forty six percent of them said I'd rather go to the dentist. In other words, they would rather have somebody sticking fingers into their mouth, perhaps causing pain, maybe even a root canal, rather than call up be put on hold for God knows how long, talk to somebody that you may or they may not be the right person, that may not understand the problem, that may not have the answer, transferring you again and again, disconnecting you, you calling back, talking to people that you don't understand or can't hear because there's so many people in the background answering other customers. Is this the experience that's provided that makes customers say, you know what, I'd rather get a root canal. Will my friends, you need to be on the other side of that, just as you mentioned, Jeneffa. You need to be on the other side of that equation that makes customers say, I trust them, I love them, I know when I call the company it's going to be a great experience. Des a predictability and in consistency, and that's what's going to create that magic that makes customers say, and this is the title of my last book, I'll be back. I love it, I love it, I love it. Don't be the root canal. Don't be the root canal of CX. That's they go. That's a tip of the week. Just just take it from that when you do your presentation to your team about why you need to invest in people, in technology, in process to improve customer experiences. I don't want to be the root canal of customer experience. Oh love it shit. Thank you so much for joining us on five nine, die and absolute tree. Love all of the stops and facts. Love the insights...

...and the stories that you bring to the table. Just fantastic. Thank you to everyone for listening to this episode of the day to Reimagine podcast, dare to reimagine customer experience with five nine. For over twenty years, five nine has been helping companies worldwide chart a path to a reimagine CX. Learn more at five ninecom. That's five, the number ninecom. You've been listening to dare to Reimagine, a podcast for CX elevators brought to you by five nine. 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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