In this episode, Jenn DeWall talks to Customer Service expert and Chief Amazement Officer, Shep Hyken. Shep is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep is also a Crestcom Faculty Member featured in our Captivate Your Customer module. Jenn and Shep discuss how brands create a great customer service experience, and how The Convenience Revolution is changing what great customer service looks like today.
Intro: 00:08 Shep Hyken is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations as a customer service and experience expert. SHEP works with companies to build loyal relationships with customers and employees. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of several books on the topic including Be Amazing or Go Home, The Cult of the Customer, The Amazement Revolution, and more. Today we are going to talk to Shep about his latest book, The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty. We hope you enjoy today’s podcast.
Meet Shep Hyken
Jenn DeWall: 00:10:20 Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining and listening to the Leadership Habit Podcast. My name is Jenn DeWall, I’m the Leadership Development Strategist for Crestcom, and today I am talking to Customer Service expert, author, and keynote speaker Shep Hyken. Shep, thank you so much for joining our podcast today.
Shep Hyken: 00:10:42 Jenn, it’s great to be here. You know, I love you. Can’t get enough of you. I’m so excited. Can you tell?
Jenn DeWall: 00:10:47 Shep, for those that don’t know you, I mean, you’re an author, you’ve written, what are you at seven books right now? I mean you- you’re around, you’ve got the industry. One of my favorite parts about your newest book, The Convenience Revolution is that you even have the buy-in from the CEO from Zappos, which is huge. Tony Hsieh. That’s awesome.
Shep Hyken: 00:11:09 He’s a wonderful guy. He’s endorsed three books now.
Jenn DeWall: 00:11:12 Holy Cow! And we know, we all know, especially those that are connected to customer service, that Zappos is really just a great brand in terms of how they maintain their house.
Shep Hyken: 00:11:21 They play at the top of the game.
Jenn DeWall: 00:11:22 Yeah. So Shep, for those that don’t know you, tell us about yourself, let them get to know a little bit more of who Shep Hyken is, and why it’s great to get to know you and how you can help them.
Shep Hyken: 00:11:33 So, Gosh, where do I start? Well, just a little background on me. I started doing magic shows when I was 12 years old, and I did birthday parties. Magic shows were my first customer service lessons from my parents, who told me to write a thank you note and call and thank them again. Find out what tricks they liked and if they’re not talking about the tricks, get rid of those and replace them with tricks they do talk about. And I had no idea that was called customer service, but that’s really what it was. It’s showing appreciation, getting feedback, process improvement based on the feedback- all at age 12.
I went on to work in nightclubs, and that was when I was 16 years old. I was working. This is the best! I did comedy and magic at the Playboy Club, which is an unbelievable job for a 16-year-old young man. I’ve got pictures to prove it all! Of when I was working at the club. Anyway, then I went to college, and of course, during all these years, I had summer jobs in addition to my doing my magic and working in clubs. I had “real” jobs in retail, but I graduated college and the company that I was actually thinking I was going to spend the rest of my life in- about four or five months out of college said, we’re selling. And I thought, well, what am I going to do now? So I saw a couple of motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, the famous great, you know, amazing motivational speaker and Tom Hopkins, who is a sales trainer and the two of them had an event that night. And I went and attended, and I thought, well, I’ve got that entertainment background, and I love the topic of customer service. I’m going to talk about that. I’m going to do this; I’m going to write a speech. So I went to the bookstore, bought a bunch of books- and there weren’t that many to buy back then. I mean if you went to the business section, it was one shelf of books. But I remember some of the first books were like Tom Peters wrote the book, In Search of Excellence, and that was a book that I picked up and around 1983, or whenever it was. It came out, a couple of other books came out at the same time. Anyway, I loved that book, and that’s how it all started. And so just being a speaker and then thanks to the Internet, all of my writing articles and things like that, I started to put content out there, and that’s how you and I met! And now here an opportunity for us to talk about customer service for you, for your customers, your people out there.
Jenn DeWall: 00:14:00 Well, I mean, it’s everywhere, right? Whether it’s with our internal customers as you were talking about- our employees, our peers that we serve, and then our external customers, like where are the people that are actually investing in our product and services?
Shep Hyken: 00:14:15 So what happens on the inside of a company, the way people are treated, the way you serve them, if you treat them like customers, if not even better, that’s how they’re going to treat customers on the outside of the company.
Jenn DeWall: 00:14:27 I love that. And it’s so true because when I’m angry, let’s say if my boss does something and I might get frustrated, you know, it’s natural then to have that carry throughout your day sometimes, right? We can carry that attitude with us and not even notice it that we have a little chip on our shoulder that can impact the way that we treat other people.
Shep Hyken: 00:14:47 And that’s not good. I mean, I, I heard it once, one of my people years and years ago, I don’t remember what caused it, but there was a difference of opinion between us. She was upset. And the way she answered the phone on the next call, I brought her back, and I said, here’s the deal. What happens here in the office- it’s a moment, it’s an interaction. Okay? We agree when we go back to work, we’re totally professional with whoever we encounter, internal or external customers. And I said, because you’re mad at me, you answered that phone in such a way that is almost embarrassing because it’s so against our brand and you’re just upset about something. I mean, at that time she wasn’t. I remember what we talked about- it wasn’t like your job was in jeopardy. But now that you’ve done that, yes, this is your first and only warning you’re going to get about how we treat customers. So what happens here, if you get mad, disagree with something, hey, that’s life. And you know what? It isn’t like we were arguing about something significant. It was kind of crazy; she asked if it was possible that we would ever consider a company car. And I said, you know, that’s a great thing to think about, but no, I’ve never thought about it. I don’t know how that would work. My gut feeling is, why would you need a company car? And it’s because her car wasn’t reliable. I go, that’s interesting, but I guess there’s a bus, there’s some train, whatever. And I think she didn’t like the answer.
Jenn DeWall: 00:16:22 I mean, I will take a company car any day!
Shep Hyken: 00:16:25 Sure. But company cars are not to get you from your place to the office! No, company cars- usually somebody is out on the road traveling on behalf of the company, and you don’t use your personal car for business purposes when you’re going on sales calls. And I don’t think she saw it that way.
Jenn DeWall: 00:16:44 I mean that’d be one of those nice things to have, but that’s definitely not an expected thing unless that’s in your job responsibilities.
Shep Hyken: 00:16:53 All right. So we went too far into the weeds on that one. Let’s get real. Let’s, let’s talk about some good information.
How is Customer Service Evolving?
Jenn DeWall: 00:16:59 Yeah. How has customer service evolved over the last five years? How has it changed in the last five years- is it true that there’s a lot of disruption?
Shep Hyken: 00:17:06 Well, if you look at all the numbers last year, for example, New Voice Media came out with their bi-annual study- every two years they come out with it. Last year they said that the year before- because of customer service, 75 billion-with-a-B-billion dollars were lost because people were not happy and they switched to a different brand. So that was lost due to poor customer service. The year before, that number was 62 billion. And two years before that, it was 35 billion. So we’re actually going back about six years. And you’re watching the trend of people switching companies, leaving companies because of poor customer service. And when you look at those numbers, you think, wow, service must be getting worse. But, If you look at another study, the American Customer Satisfaction Index Report that comes out by the University of Michigan every year, you’ll look at all these years, and you’ll start to see there’s actually an increase in customer satisfaction. They’re happier. But wait a minute, they’re leaving faster. And I’ll tell you why they are happier.
Almost every sector, including the government, by the way, is getting better at serving their customers. But they aren’t doing, or they aren’t getting better enough, better quickly, enough, better. They aren’t; they aren’t reaching the customer’s expectation. Because here’s what’s happened. Customers no longer compare you to the direct competition that you have within your industry. They compare you to the best service they’ve ever had. You mentioned Zappos when we first started our call. Zappos, Amazon, which happens to be the same company, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, the best restaurant you’ve ever gone to, the friendliest people you’ve ever encountered at a restaurant, even if it’s not a big fancy restaurant, the best retail store. Not because of their great reputation. But because there’s this one salesperson that calls you when there’s a sale, has your clothes waiting for you, takes time with you. These are the people in the companies that create a benchmark for others to aspire to be like. And the problem is the customer says, why can’t they be as good as, you know, whoever. And therefore they put the onus on that company to uh, raise their level of customer service. That’s why I think in the last five years, it’s not that service has gotten worse. It’s actually gotten better. But customers have gotten smarter, and this is what they expect.
Jenn DeWall: 00:19:26 And that’s funny that you say that. Because when I had a recent experience with a large retailer that you know, I was trying to make a return, and they weren’t letting me make the return. I was thinking, why can’t you be more like Nordstrom and Kohls? Who are two different retailers that have very, I would say, customer-focused and customer-oriented return policies where it’s yes we can, and we want to do what we can to help. And I didn’t even realize it now that I was comparing those experiences and expecting them to show up in the same way.
Shep Hyken: 00:19:56 And that’s exactly what happened. These other companies set the bar higher for you. Now what’s interesting is that people stand on policy. Most of the policies related to what you experience where they said no, was a policy that was created for the evil people in the world, the ones that are taking advantage of companies. And interestingly, if you take a look at those people and what the loss is by creating this policy. You know, if people stole from us, it probably is not nearly as costly as you saying, I never want to do business with them again- or the cost of trying to maintain the policy. For example, I love the Guitar Center. I play guitar, by the way. Do you want to know things about me? I play guitar with Eric Clapton. Yeah, on Youtube every night I play along with him and Carlos Santana and the Allman Brothers, The Who, The Grateful Dead – everybody! Anybody! I played with all of them on Youtube. So anyway, where am I going with this? Where was I going with this? I lost my train of thought.
Jenn DeWall: 00:21:27 There are some policies that are so old, and they were created for the people that take advantage –
Shep Hyken: 00:21:31 Yes! Guitar Center, yes. Here we go. So Guitar Center, you used to walk into a guitar center up until a few years ago, and there was a desk and a person behind the desk saying, um, can I see what’s in your purse? Uh, I see you’re bringing in a guitar. I need to log it in. So when you walk out, we know you walk out with the same guitar and not the brand new one that’s on the showroom that you switched it with, you know? So basically this was their idea of loss prevention, right? It was costing them several million dollars a year to prevent the loss of people stealing from them. Guess what? The actual losses weren’t nearly as expensive as the cost to try to prevent it. That’s number one. Number two, the aggravation that it caused, the 99% of the customers that were honest was not, it was irritating them, and I don’t want to go through that. I’m going to go find another place. You know, maybe it’s not the Guitar Center, but think about it, you don’t have to go back to that store anymore that has that bad return policy that’s based on people trying to take advantage of it. You can go to another store that will take care of you, and you already mentioned two of them, so it’s already on your mind. So think about what happens. Anyway, I love The Guitar Center; I just loved them as a store, anyway. And my friends who worked there, and I go visit them, and I buy, I bought a bunch of, you know, music and guitars and things like that over the years. What’s interesting is that they dropped it and everybody’s happy, you know, so, and I urge companies to take a look at the policies that they create, the structure they create. Number one, is it customer-focused? Number two, does it make it harder on the customer or easier? Is it just a non-event, is it necessary? And what’s the reason you have it? And you take a look at all of those together. And I think it’d be very helpful for companies to decide, okay, this is good. I hate using that word “policy.” This is a good “guideline” to look at. Guidelines you can bend, policies are tough to break.
Jenn DeWall: 00:23:31 Yeah. You brought up another thing. I tried to purchase contacts, and I had to submit my prescription, and there were just some issues with the contact company processing it. And so they eventually just canceled my account without telling me. So I did. I was waiting for my contacts, and they never get here, and then I reached back out to them, and they said, we’re so sorry we did this. And then they tried to run it again. Well my FSA, which is the method of payment that I used, had initially run it, and then they refunded it. So then the contact company told me they couldn’t help me because my card was declining. And then I call the number on the back of my insurance card, and they also tell me there’s a 30-day hold of when they’ll release the funds back to my account so they can’t help me. There’s nothing they can do, which means that then I individually have to pay for it out of my personal account and then figure out what forms I need to fill out to submit the amount for what I paid for. It’s insane the amount of extra work that was pushed back on me as the customer. Something that I thought was actually going to be a very simple and smooth transaction.
Moments of Misery
Shep Hyken: 00:24:40 And I’m going to bet that that happens over and over and over again. I was doing work with an internet cable provider who will remain nameless at this point. They’re a very good company, but I just don’t, I mean, they gave me an example of a really bad customer service experience. They said this is what we try to fix and it’s hard to fix. So for example, you live in Colorado? I live in St Louis. Okay. Missouri. Let’s say we both could buy from the same cable company that they happen to have a presence in each of our cities. Right? So let’s say I’m the XYZ cable company customer in St Louis and I moved to Denver. Okay? And I switched my cable service to Denver. Okay. So I’m still a customer, but my phone number on my cell phone is still a Missouri number.
Shep Hyken: 00:25:31 So I called them and what they do is they recognize my phone number, and they routed me to the customer service department in St Louis, Missouri or Missouri. And now I’m talking to the person after I put in my account number, etc., etc., etc. And finally I’m talking to the rep, and the rep realizes after I tell the story, that I’m not Missouri anymore. He says I’m really sorry I can’t help you. I’m going to have to transfer you over to somebody that can in Denver or Colorado because there are different laws in different states and whatever. And guess what? And I’m forced to do this. You know, isn’t there a better way? And they said that a big percentage, it’s not like an overwhelming percentage, but it’s a big enough percentage enough that this happens, that it’s a real problem. And customers are put in this position of inconvenience simply because they moved and kept their same phone number and they’re trying to figure out, and by the way, they’re actively pursuing a way to fix this problem, so it doesn’t keep happening again and again.
So let’s talk about how that happens- we’ll look at a moment of misery. And this is what I call the interaction points along the journey of a customer if it’s a moment of misery versus a moment of magic, a positive experience. Take a look at this moment of misery, what caused it. And, and we usually sit down with our clients, and we get a big group of people. When we say everybody, you’re in small groups. Okay. Now, within a larger group, I want you to write down the top three biggest complaints that you hear. I don’t care if they’re internal people complaining about another department internally. But, you know, like we’re out of stock. Could be a big one. Or, you know, the customer calls the shipment’s been lost. Our warehouse doesn’t always alert us when we’re out of stock, so we sell something that the customer can’t get anyway. What are the biggest complaints that you have? You list them all out and then you prioritize because you can’t handle all of them at once. Right? What are the most important ones and deal with one at a time or maybe two or three? If you have the bandwidth to do it, you take them on. You may not ever be able to eliminate, but you should definitely mitigate, diminish the number of times this happens because you’re going to get a group together and collectively you’re going to brainstorm, what if we did it this way? What if we did it that way? And I guarantee you will come up with ways that will be more effective. You may not eliminate the problem altogether, but you’re going to make it better for some.
Jenn DeWall: 00:28:04 Which is what we need to do, right? It’s not that we can try to be perfect and solve every single potential issue. There are plenty of things that we can’t control or just different interruptions, but there are lots of things you can control. Especially today, those reoccurring issues. What prevents people from really focusing their efforts on creating optimal customer service? What do you think gets in companies’ ways?
Create a Customer Service Culture
Shep Hyken: 00:28:28 Sure. Well, first of all, it’s, it’s the culture. It’s the biggest thing. That’s the number one problem. A company that you say, why can’t they be as nice as so and so? Why aren’t they, why do they think this way? The culture has been created by leadership. So, let’s give you a real quick rundown on six ways to fix that. And I know this isn’t what we planned to talk about. I’m not going to create the customer focus. Culture is the way to start to create a better experience for your customers, both externally and internally. Number one, the leadership must define in a simple, clear statement. What is the customer service or customer experience vision going to be? I’ll give you an example, Zappos. Since you mentioned them, three words: Powered by Service. That’s it. Now, what does that mean? It’s a tagline. But if you use that internally and we’re powered by service when you come to work for us. By the way, Tony Hsieh, when you come to work for Zappos, he says, I have 10 core values. Every one of my people will follow and be part of this and believe in these values. And if they’re deficient in any one, they’ve got to go. They’ve gotta be, you know, willing to live all 10 of them. So once you hire the right people and you have a vision like powered by service, you start training them. What does that mean to you and your department? It means something different if you’re on the phones talking to a customer versus in the warehouse, putting shoes in and wrapping them up and shipping them out or anything else that Zappos sells. So, my favorite of all is nine words long. It’s the Ritz Carlton’s mantra. I call it a mantra, by the way. The one sentence or less, I call it a mantra. Actually, the Ritz calls theirs a credo and Horst Schulze, the first president, co-founder of the rich came up with this. “We’re Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” They put it on a laminated card. They have their 24 gold standards right underneath it. And every one of these standards is about you being a lady or gentleman serving a lady or a gentleman. Whether it’s an internal lady or gentlemen or an external, it doesn’t matter. But that’s the Ritz’s credo. And so once you establish and define what that statement is. And by the way, it doesn’t change. It is what you have for in the best case, decades. But it’s with you for years. And so you’ve got this statement, and now you’ve got to live to it. So number two, it’s gotta be communicated. Number three, you gotta train everybody to it. As I mentioned, people in the warehouse might be different than people in the frontline or the accounting department. Number four, leadership has to be a role model. Number five, leadership has to keep it in alignment. I want to ask the CEO, what’s your most important job? And he says, you know, I’ve put together deals, and we grow our company. But really what we’re known for is how we treat our people and our customers. I defend the culture. If there is somebody, some groups, some departments, some region out of alignment, we get it back in. That’s number five. Number six is, celebrate it when it works. And these six steps, simple as they sound, not always so easy. Simple is not easy, but if you’re a small company, really small, you know, entrepreneurial, 10 people, 50 people, a hundred people, you can do this in a really short time, maybe several months. If you’re a big company, you know, 80,000-100,000 employees or more, you’re talking, you know, five, six, seven years, which is fine. It takes a long time to turn the big ship, but those six steps are what will help create that customer-focused culture.
Jenn DeWall: 00:31:58 Yeah, it’s a big part of that leadership. How are you showing up? How are you showing up that is, or what ways are you showing up and what messages are you spreading to your organization about how you value or how you see customer service, right? You are that leader, and you have that role. People are looking to you for guidance. Whether you recognize that or not, it can be very subconscious. But if you’re kind of more agitated and annoyed that your customers or even at fellow employees, they’re going to take the lead from you. Recognizing that as a leader, whether or not you are on the front lines, you are impacting that experience in any, in almost every way based on how you show up.
Shep Hyken: 00:32:55 Jenn, you and I have a mutual friend, Mark Sanborn. Yeah. Yes. Who’s done one of the programs over there at Crestcom.
Jenn DeWall: 00:33:04 Yeah, and he was one of the top 30 speakers in the world. He’s got a good accolade there.
Shep Hyken: 00:33:10 Well he’s been a good buddy for years and years. He has a great speech called, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader. Okay. So that’s in general, and I say, well definitely that applies to anybody in customer service. Say – here’s the person you’re looking at. Wow, that person’s amazing. Listen to how he or she took care of that customer. I want to be able to do that. And that may be somebody who’s just a service or support person, not a manager, not a president of a company, not a director, not a CEO. You don’t need the title to be a leader. I want to be that person that other people look around, and everybody should aspire to be that person that you would say, you know what? That’s how I want to behave.
The Convenience Revolution
Jenn DeWall: 00:33:54 Right. This is how I want to show up. You know we’ve had such a great conversation so far, but I really want to talk about your newest book, The Convenience Revolution. I love that book! You talked about the six principles of the convenience revolution, why is convenience important today?
Shep Hyken: 00:34:20 Wow. So pretty, pretty great setup on that. Well, number one, we all know customer service and experiences important. It’s becoming more and more important. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say most companies believe this to be true. And most companies believe that the products that they sell are good products or products that are at least a value to what people are paying. Number two, they think they provide good service. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But the fact is they’re trying. So the customer experience plus a good product that they sell or maybe it’s a service- it’s one plus one doesn’t equal two- it’s the sum is greater than the parts. Where the sum is greater than the whole. So here’s the thing, what do you do now? Everybody believes, and everybody’s trying to do it. What’s the next level? So about a year and a half ago, I thought what the next level is probably not just good service, friendly, helpful, and it’s just a good experience, which includes everything about, you know, open up the box. That was a cool experience. I just got my new iPhone. Wow. That was cool. That’s part of the experience and the product. What if it was just easier to do business with a company? Because I look at the companies that I love to write about and I love to speak about, and I recognize they’re all really convenient to do business with. And who’s the most convenient company in my mind, on the planet to do business with? It’s as a question to you. I bet you know the answer.
Jenn DeWall: 00:35:46 I mean I know that Zappos is one, Zappos is one.
Shep Hyken: 00:35:50 And guess who owns Zappos? Amazon. Exactly. Amazon is the, in my mind, the most convenient company as a right, right. Think about it. So there are six convenience principles which we’ll get to in a moment, and they are great at all six. And by the way, you don’t need to be in all six of these areas to be amazingly convenient to disrupt your competition. People think disruption is about disrupting. Oh, they are a disruptor of what an entire industry. You know how few companies get to disrupt an entire industry, but you know that every day, companies are disrupting the local competitor that they go up against day in and day out. So the goal is you give them a good experience, you give them a good product, but then you add this level of convenience. And if you can be easier to do business with all things being equal, easier wins.
Think about the convenience stores you’re driving down the street versus going to a big grocery store. All you need is a, you know, a loaf of bread and some milk and maybe, you know, whatever. And wouldn’t it be easier to just pull into a tiny little parking lot, run in, not a huge store to run around? You pull it off the shelf. Guess what? It’s always a little bit more expensive than these convenience stores, but nobody is complaining. And I think it’s important to realize that Amazon is as convenient as they are, and they offer a good price on top of it. So that’s really tough. Except now when you go to an Amazon page for a product, you’ll oftentimes see it’s at another retail where they are selling it for less money, and they give you a link to that retailer because they are so confident. By the way, it’s a great service. You’re helping me understand the good prices, but the value of having Amazon deliver it to me next day or two days from now and getting those emails that say it’s being shipped, it’s already there, you know, whatever they can make you feel so comfortable. And, and also how easy is it to buy from Amazon? One Click ordering. If you’re on the site and you’re all set up in there, you have an account, one click and it’s done. And now you don’t even need to open up your computer. Are you familiar with the Dash Button? It looks like a doorbell, and it’s specific to a product that you buy. So for example, if you bought a lot of tide detergent for your washing machine, if you bought toothpaste, deodorant, all of the things that you buy, you get a dash button. All right, so you’re running low on washing machine detergent, and you just push the button that has, you know, adhesive and it’s connected to your Wifi and it orders your detergent for you. Well, that was convenient. So here’s what’s cool. Okay. About, I’m going to say six weeks, maybe eight weeks ago, they discontinued the dash button. Do you know why? You don’t have to push your button anymore. Not only do you not have to open a computer, but you also don’t have to push a button. You just go look over at the Amazon Echo. You call out her name and say, please order me more washing machine detergent and Alexa or Google play or whatever smart devices, we’ll order it for you. And, uh, you know, you want a pizza, you don’t have to pick up the phone or order a pizza anymore. Domino’s pizza, which is one of the case studies in my book using technology, now has 10 different ways you can order a pizza to be delivered. None of them have to do with making an actual phone call
Jenn DeWall: 00:39:38 10 different ways!
Shep Hyken: 00:39:40 Well, you already picked up one of them. You, you showed me, you have your phone in your hand. That’s one way you can order from your smart device. Your Amazon Echo or your Google Home, you can order. Ford vehicles have a feature like OnStar with the GM, and you can ask on the way home. It makes sure my pizza is there by the time I get home. I mean, it happens. There are so many ways; I love it. If you go onto the Domino’s pizza website, there’s a list of all the different ways you can order a pizza without having to pick up the phone.
Jenn DeWall: 00:40:21 Especially in the U.S. like we are very, very busy in our lives. We hectic schedules, especially if you’re a parent and you’re running your children around or even just the amount of hours that we work, we don’t have a lot of time to focus on those things that aren’t as fun but are necessities. Right? We need laundry detergent. I need to order dog food for my beautiful dog, Zoe. Like, I need all that, but I don’t really want to go to the store. And that’s why convenience is so important to me because I spend my time that way.
Shep Hyken: 00:40:51 Chewy.com dog food, they will deliver your 50 pound bag of dog food to your door so that you don’t have to go to the grocery store, pick it up, put it in your cart, take it out to your car from the car, take it to your doorstep. They’ll do this for you. And it’s called the subscription model. And that’s one of the big six convenience principles is you, you subscribe to something so you don’t have to think about it anymore. It just shows up when you need it on an ongoing, regular basis as you consume it. I’m a member of a great club called the Dollar Shave Club. Ooh, isn’t that exciting? And like, is this a subscription service for razor blades? Every month I get four new razor blades to replace once a week. And you know what? It works for me. It’s great.
Shep Hyken: 00:41:35 You’ve got software as a service, which is typically a software program where now you’re paying an annual fee or a monthly fee for something that you use to buy in a box. And think about what Microsoft did. Microsoft took up a box of software that would cost four or $500, and people would buy it and then they, it was time, you know, the new upgraded version. But no, this is working fine for me. So four or five versions later, several years later, they’d say, okay, now upgrade. When they said, let’s make it easy. Instead of charging you $400, let’s just charge you like $25 a month or $20 a month, you’ll get the latest and greatest all of the time. You’ll be able to use it on your computer at work and your computer at home. Matter of fact, most of them, well, you have two, three, four devices that you can hook it up to.
Shep Hyken: 00:42:24 So now, if you have a computer at the office and you want to hook it into your smartphone, you want to hook into your computer at home. They made it so easy and it’s ongoing recurring revenue for the company, and it’s just an easier on the pocketbook for the customer, and you never have to worry about it. You always have the latest and greatest. That’s the subscription model, by the way.
So, the six principles- number one is simply to reduce friction, which is in all six principals. But some companies like Amazon, that’s a big part of their value prop. Uber and Lyft do it. It’s so much easier. You know, if you’re in the suburbs, like when I came out to your office, uh, you know, taking an Uber to and from the, you know, it’s, it’s just you can see the person driving down the street to come and pick you up. You don’t have to stop and pay, you pay, but it’s all in the system. So you just get out of the car when you’re done, and it’s really a convenient way of doing things.
Shep Hyken: 00:44:35 So, number one, reduce friction. Number two, self-service solutions. Can you incorporate something that gives the customer control over their experience? When you go to buy an airline ticket, you go online and buy it. You go to check in online; you’re taking control. You don’t have to wait in lines. Self-service is great and frequently asked questions on a website, youtube videos, you know that self-help from support. But other ways that you can get the customer involved in the, in the process. Walking out of a grocery store, you can go to the self-service lane, which means that you scan your own groceries, put them in your own bag. By the way, you will notice there is always an employee near the self-service area to help the people that get confused and can’t work the machines.
Shep Hyken: 00:45:23 And that’s an important lesson. Self-service doesn’t mean let the customer do it and forget about it. No self-service is, let’s try to give them a better experience. And if they need help, we’ll make sure we’re there to help them along the way. So number three is technology. How can you incorporate technology? We already talked about the dash button. Now using the, you know, smart speaker devices. Think about how you move money from one person to the next. If I want to Venmo you or PayPal you, I can get it to you literally in seconds instead of having to write a check and mail it to you or whatever. It’s amazing. So you’ve got technology, that’s three. Number four is a subscription model, which we talked about. Number five is delivery. Now, remember I said you don’t need to disrupt an entire industry.
Shep Hyken: 00:46:07 You know, Amazon kind of did that to the retail industry. Lyft and Uber did it to the taxicab industry. My car dealership, who I buy my car from- I don’t subscribe to this car. I bought it. I remember seeing the car in a display in a dealership that was maybe 10 miles from where I live versus where I would normally buy my car. That’s literally not even a half a mile from where I work. And I could drop my car off, get it serviced, and I could walk to work and walk back to pick it up. If they didn’t want to give me a loaner, I didn’t need one. Guess what happened? I go into this dealership, and the guy says, so you interested in looking at, I’m just looking, I don’t want to buy and here’s why. And he says, look around. There’s no waiting room.
Shep Hyken: 00:46:49 They’re actually is. It’s really small. He, if you buy a car from me, I will make sure that whenever you need service, we will bring you a brand new car, and we’ll pick up your car. We’ll bring it back when your car is ready. The next time you come in here will be to buy another car. Not because you need an oil change or your annual maintenance. And I went, wow, and what does that cost? He goes, I’m going to write up a deal. Go shop it to where you normally go. And if you feel that the value’s not there, we didn’t beat the price, you let me know and I’ll see what I can do. But I really believe that we’re going to be the best value and best price for you. By golly, he is, I’m on my third car with him.
Jenn DeWall: 00:47:26 He even put that into a contract to say, I want you to go out there and do this because I believe so much in the value that we’re offering that I trust that you’re going to go out there and shop around. And you may not find that, now that’s brave. Right? A lot of companies are a little bit more risk averse, and they don’t necessarily want to be that vulnerable, especially to that price point.
Shep Hyken: 00:47:46 Well, I think when you’re shopping for a car, it’s expected that you know, the customer’s gonna make sure this is a good deal and try to work that, work them over. And it was his way of saying, Hey, don’t work me over. Take the deal. And by the way, letting that customer walk out of the door is the riskiest part. Okay. That’s the riskiest part. But I was educated. I knew about what a dealership makes on a car just because of my background and what I do working with car dealerships, but I love this guy and I love the dealership and true to their word. And the people that bring me my car or pickup, bring me the loaner and pick up my car. Those are now the ambassadors of that brand. They, he or she needs to look at themselves as the ambassador of this company. I’m going to go out there, and I’m going to make them love us for what we do because otherwise, this customer’s not going to go into the dealership the next time they need to buy a new car or, or any other way. Until then, it could be five years, three years before the customer comes back. I want to make sure every touch point that I have with that customer is an amazing interaction.
Shep Hyken: 00:49:54 Let’s talk about technology then. I’ll give you number six. We talked about technology, but from the standpoint of being on hold, I can call a company – I called American Airlines just last night about something, and they said, thanks for calling, your hold time is 19 minutes. However, if you’d like, we can call you back in 19 minutes, so you don’t have to wait on hold. Just key in your number. Well, that’s total respect of my time. I love that. It’s technology that’s driving that, and they say if there’s a more convenient time, no, it didn’t happen on the call last night, but on many of these technologies, if there’s a more convenient time, uh, passed the 19 minutes, just key that in and we’ll call you back at that time. So that tells me they respect me as a customer. They respect my time. And that’s where a lot of friction takes place when you force people to wait and be on hold and, and you waste their time. All right. Number six is Access.
Are you accessible to your customers? That can be physically, logistically, um, like a Walmart, for example, is probably, I can’t remember the stat that’s in my book, but I’m gonna try to think that like 90% of the US population is within 10 minutes or so of a Walmart. It’s some stat like that. It’s an incredible amount of people. Accessibility. One of the banks, I use them, a Huntington Bank is a lead case study, because what they said is, banker’s hours are not convenient to most customers unless of course, you’re marketing to the unemployed. So yeah.
Jenn DeWall: 00:51:44 Great business model too, right?
Shep Hyken: 00:51:46 Today, with technology, you can take a picture of your check and that’s how you make a deposit. You don’t necessarily have to go to the bank anymore. You can use your phone.
Jenn DeWall: 00:52:21 Yes, Access. I left a bank because so many other banks were offering that option to take a picture of your check and make that deposit. So I no longer had to go to the bank or an ATM. I thought it was strange that my bank wouldn’t offer that given the other big institutions I worked with could. And I had to leave them. And it’s not that they had bad service. They just weren’t as convenient. When you’re talking about the six principles, it’s not that every company needs to focus on all six to be successful. It’s really just focusing on one.
Shep Hyken: 00:53:11 I preface this in the book, some of the ideas are going to be like obsolete in a year, but there is a company, Mobile Mart I called it. It’s a foreign entity, and they have a driverless bus that goes around the neighborhood, and it’s a convenience store on wheels. You go online, and you order what you want and, and at a certain time every day that shows up at the street corner or somewhere on your block, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this thing is running at two in the morning. That convenience stores stopping on your block. And the idea is, and by the way, it’s driverless, there are no people in there, similar to the Amazon technology of being able to walk in and pick up your item and leave. It knows because of your mobile phone that you’re on or off this vehicle. And I mean, whether that works or not, I don’t know. But this is the forward thinking that some of these companies are doing to create a better experience for their customers.
Jenn DeWall: 00:54:48 That’s crazy. How cool and yes, it’s hard to probably predict some of the ways that it’s going to evolve. Because I know that in my own experience, I wouldn’t be able to picture a driverless convenience store going through my neighborhood. That wasn’t even on my radar as something. And now that it exists, I hope that they have that here. And you know, if you don’t, especially if you don’t live in a 24-7 city, how can you account for that where you may not have access, where you need to get XYZ, just knowing that there’s something like that. I mean, even the fact that companies are going into delivery with drones.
Shep Hyken: 00:55:26 Yeah. And that, and so that’s the kind of thing. So imagine, and I talk about drone delivery. Well, Amazon also has distribution centers throughout the entire country. And in other parts of the world too. But imagine, like the Goodyear blimp. So the blimp goes by and it picks up a, for lack of a better term, a miniature warehouse of inventory. So, let’s say at a big sporting event like the Super Bowl or the world series or the Stanley Cup. And so what’ll happen is they know that there’s going to be a huge interest in, you know, hats and sweatshirts and all logoed merchandise with the teams, right? So what they’ll do is they’ll pick up a huge crate of this with the Goodyear Blimp type thing and float it close to where the event is. And as the merchandise runs out, down below with the retailer, it’ll drop ship literally from the sky using a drone. It’ll pop up with the merchandise so that they never run out. And then as soon as that container of merchandise gets low, they go back to the warehouse, pick up another one and go back over, isn’t that amazing?
What is Your Leadership Habit?
Jenn DeWall: 00:56:44 Yes. Dropship has a completely different definition now. I spent almost a decade in retail, and that is not what dropship meant then. That’s amazing. Well Shep, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. And I know we talked a lot about The Convenience Revolution, which is your newest book, but you have six other books, and I’ve read quite a few of them. They are a great resource for people to use to understand how they can create a stronger customer service culture, and what they can do to improve their customer service. Because I know that for those that are thinking, it’s just about the external customer, it’s really that customer service is all about how do we retain and engage our people because we need our people to make our mission and our results possible. Shep, I like to close each podcast interview with our question. What is your leadership habit for success?
Shep Hyken: 00:57:52 Wow, a leadership habit. So first of all, I wrote a whole book. It’s called Be Amazing or Go Home, on habits that are good for anybody. Many people cannot withstand the monotony of success. What that means is that “success” is habits. I’m disciplined. You know, every Sunday I have a Forbes column that comes out. Every Monday, I write an article about my favorite articles I read the week before. Every Tuesday, I have my podcast show. Every Wednesday, I have a newsletter. Every Thursday, I have a video that gets real. You see what’s happening. Every day I do something, and it happens at the exact time. The discipline to do that, day after day, week after week, year after year, it becomes monotonous. I hear people say, so I don’t do it anymore. Why? It works so well, and you stopped doing it? No. I think that people have a difficult time withstanding the monotony of what it takes to be successful. And I think the discipline of that, of doing what needs to get done, the habit, that’s what I think my leadership habit is.
Jenn DeWall: 00:59:08 Doing what needs to get done even on the days that you may not be feeling like it, you’ve got to do it.
Shep Hyken: 00:59:19 You still gotta do it!
Jenn DeWall: 00:59:21 So it’s all about that perseverance. And I think what some would call it, that grit. Just continuing to go, go, go, and build. Well, Shep, thank you so much for such an engaging podcast episode. I know that our listeners will love all of the tips that you gave. You’re so knowledgeable, and I hope that we’ve uncovered different ways that we can go about understanding new business opportunities in the customer service revolution. That was exciting for me, thank you so much for sharing.
Shep Hyken: 00:59:47 My pleasure. Thank you, Jen. Let’s do it again soon.
Outro Thank you for joining us today for our conversation with Shep Hyken. To find out more about Shep and his work, visit his website at hyken.com. There’ll be a link in the show notes. While you are there, you can check out Shep’s blog on customer service, sign up for his newsletter, or contact him for booking at your next event. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of his latest book, The Convenience Revolution on Amazon, or your favorite bookseller!