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  • HFTP Research Report: Pre-opening Expenditures in Hospitality

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Article by Shep Hyken

Experiential Calluses Against Poor CX

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·18 April 2019
That brings us to a dinner I recently attended where I met Terry Rapoch, a consultant from Dayton, Ohio. We were talking about why people put up with bad service - especially service that is inconvenient and has friction. He called it an experiential callus. There may be a little pain, but you get used to it and put up with it. In certain situations, for certain products, it's just easier to deal with the pain than switch to a different company.For example, switching banks isn't easy. Changing software can be very painful. So, a customer might tolerate a certain amount of pain in the form of poor service or friction and live with it until it becomes so bad they feel forced to switch. The type of business that keeps customers by making it difficult to leave is known as a stickybusiness. Sticky, because it's not easy to switch. It may take a lot of time and effort. It may be, metaphorically speaking, painful to switch.I once met an executive of a software company who openly admitted that his company didn't have to provide the best support, but barely adequate support. He knew it was difficult for his customers to learn a new software program, so the bare minimum effort was all he needed to keep his customers.That may work in the short term, but eventually, a competitor will see the opportunity. That's why Richard Branson started Virgin Air. He didn't like the way big airlines treated customers. He said they were taking the mickey out on the customer. That's British slang, and roughly translated it means having a joke at the customer's expense. In business, that means not giving the customer a good value for their money. Customers may have built up tolerance in the form of an experiential callus to the way the airlines treated them. Then they realized they had a choice--and started flying Virgin Air.It's not always easy to change when you're used to something, even when you experience a little pain and know there might be a better alternative. That callus gets pretty thick. But trust me; there will be many Richard Branson-types out there, looking for opportunities to capitalize on the experiential callus and finding ways to give customers a better experience.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

Leadership Sets the Tone of the Culture

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·10 April 2019
One of our Shepard Letter subscribers, who asked to remain anonymous, recently shared a story worth telling. To protect him from the backlash he's concerned about, we'll change his name to "protect the innocent," as the saying goes, just in case someone from his company reads this. So, we'll just refer to him as Bob.As part of his onboarding process, Bob was put through customer service training. He learned about how to treat the company's customers with dignity and respect. Leadership came in and talked about how important it was to deliver a great customer experience to what they referred to as one of their most valuable assets: their customers. Bob was proud to be a part of this team.Several weeks later, the same executives that emphasized the importance of their customers started to complain about some their customers and make disparaging remarks about them, such as how certain customers were cheap or that Bob shouldn't waste time with customers who don't buy enough. (Personally, I think that customers are customers regardless of money spent, which means they deserve the same dignity and respect as anyone who pays good money for the company's product.)Bob was conflicted. Didn't these same executives, not that long ago, talk about how their customers were so important, about how they must be treated with dignity and respect? He began to lose respect for his leadership.The problem was incongruent messages. When leadership complains about customers, it gives permission for employees to do the same. It is a domino effect. Employees seek guidance from their leadership and often look at them as role models. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the way a customer is treated or referred to by leadership affects how employees will treat the customers.It's often said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. It's also our primary method of learning as human beings. As babies, we learn to smile by watching our parents. As children, we learn in school by watching our teachers. And in the professional world, we learn to embody our company's core values by watching organization leaders set an example.Leadership sets the tone. They are the role models for the rest of the employees. They can't demonstrate an attitude of, "Do as I say, not as I do." Everyone's eyes and ears are focused on their leadership. If you are a leader - or in a position that may influence others - how do your behaviors and attitudes reflect the essence of how others act? Even if you aren't a president or CEO, you can set the standard for how you want those around you to behave.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

The Power of a Smile

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 4 April 2019
Now, some of you may be thinking, "Big deal. It was just a smile." But it is a big deal. Alex shared the story about where she learned about the power of a smile.Back when Alex was a teenager, she attended the annual convention of the National Speakers Association. There was a youth program that featured the top motivational speakers in the world. One of them was my friend W Mitchell, an amazing man who has overcome incredible adversity. First, he had a motorcycle accident where his face and a good percentage of his body was burned. Then he was in a plane crash that put him a wheelchair for the rest of his life.The way Alex remembers it, Mitchell told a story about how he didn't want to go outside. After the motorcycle accident, he was uncomfortable about how people might react to seeing his face. One day he mustered up the courage to walk outside. He saw a little girl and was terrified he might scare her. She looked at him and smiled. He smiled back. That little girl's smile meant the world to him.Alex said, "After hearing his story, I started smiling and saying good morning or hello to everyone." She told me how every day when she takes the train home from work there is a homeless man who is always asking for money. Hardly anyone looks at this man as they walk by him. Alex said that the first day she saw him she smiled and said, "Hi," as she walked by. On that day she was wearing a coat with a leopard pattern, so the man responded, "Hello girl in the leopard coat." Thus began a daily ritual. Every day she would smile and say hello and he would always respond the same way.She mentioned that she does that same thing at work. As she walks by a colleague, she always smiles. She almost always gets a friendly smile back.That day, as we were shopping, I noticed sales people that weren't smiling or making eye contact with their customers when they walk into their stores. I couldn't help but think of the missed opportunity to set a more positive tone and create a better human-to-human connection.The point is that a smile is a small gesture, but a powerful one. It takes little effort and doesn't cost anything. You just have to get in the habit of doing it. It's powerful at work and in your personal life. When you get into the habit of smiling at others, you'll start to notice how many people smile back at you.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

Nobody Goes There Anymore... It's Too Crowded

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·27 March 2019
Then I noticed they had four people on the lot taking orders from the people in the drive-through. They eliminated the problem. The cars were moving through the line at a pretty good speed. Actually, they moved faster than the traffic I was sitting in on the main street. Brilliant thinking... just because you're in the drive-through lane, doesn't mean you have wait to get to the front of the line to order.There's an old saying often attributed to Yogi Berra, who was known to say some pretty clever things. I believe he was referring to a restaurant when he said, "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." My take on this is that the place was so successful and the wait to get a table so long, people just stopped going to what was once a very popular restaurant.I remember when Home Depot came to the St. Louis area, which is where I live. The parking lots were jammed, and the lines were long - so long that it prompted a local news station to come out and report on how long the lines were. Well, a smart manager realized he had to change this problematic reputation, so Home Depot started advertising that the lines would never be longer than five minutes. Any customers who had to wait in line longer than that would receive a discount. Problem solved. Bad reputation averted.When your success causes your customers frustration because you are too busy to take care of them, you are at risk of losing your best customers. How often will people wait in a long line for a meal before deciding it's not worth the time? How long will customers wait on hold for a customer service rep before switching to another brand?There are exceptions to this. Pink's Hot Dogs, a popular roadside restaurant in Hollywood, California, comes to mind. Its reputation for long lines is part of the experience. But those types of business are few and far between. Most of the time, you'll frustrate customers.If you're so successful that you cause your customers the inconvenience of having to wait, you may be casting doubt into your customers' minds about the next experience they are going to have with you. That's when it's time to get creative and find ways to create confidence, not frustration.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

The Upfront Agreement of Future Communication

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·21 March 2019
Not long ago, I wrote an article that featured Todd Hopkins, CEO of Office Pride, and his concept of core values being a decision filter. I had the chance to interview him for Amazing Business Radioand he dropped another big concept on us that's worth bringing to our followers. He talked about an agreement he makes with all his new customers and employees, an upfront agreement tied to future communication.Essentially, Todd asks his new customers to agree in writing that if there is ever an issue, problem, complaint, question - anything that impairs the customer's experience - that they will communicate it with either Todd or another employee. The goal is to fix problems before they fester and become bigger than they need to be. Todd says, "If a customer isn't happy, we want them to let us know. If they let us know, then we can fix it."That seems like common sense, but Todd knows that customers don't always tell us when there's a problem or issue. How many times have you wished you could be honest with someone about how you felt, but held back out of worry or fear of their reaction? This applies to both personal and professional relationships. Customers do the same thing; they keep quiet. They never say a word. Then one day they just disappear; they stop doing business with us. But we thought they were happy! They didn't complain!That's why Todd has his upfront agreement. It's in writing - in his contract. He makes it clear that when customers contact him when they're unhappy, their problem will be taken care of with no hard feelings or defensive behavior - from either party.Todd is emphatic about this strategy for communication, stating, "When it comes to customer service, I believe in establishing that upfront agreement. It sets you up for a beautiful relationship for years to come. Having that upfront agreement about how we'll communicate has saved us so much heartburn."Not only does Todd believe this is important for customers, he also knows how effective it is for employees. The "open door" policy of communication for employees has served him well. He finds out what's on the employee's mind; if there is a way to work it out, they will. He fosters open dialogue that creates a positive culture for his company.That's the underlying lesson here - company culture. By nurturing that open workplace communication and positive company culture, Todd sets up his business for success. What's felt on the inside of a company will radiate through to the outside. Having a solid system of communication will facilitate this flow, make everyone's lives easier, and ensure a positive customer experience. Consider drafting an upfront agreement for your business and see how it shapes your future.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

Amaze It Forward

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·14 March 2019
You've heard of the concept of Pay It Forward. Many people use the phrase to describe doing a good deed for someone with no other expectation than that person doing something nice for someone else and so on, creating a chain of good deeds. Don't pay it back. Pay it forward.Some people don't realize that the Pay It Forward movement was started by a movie of the same name, which was based on a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde. A seventh-grade social studies teacher gives his class an assignment to come up with an idea that could change the world. Trevor, one of the students, comes up with the idea that if you do a favor for three people and each of those people did a favor for three more people and it continues, then it's just a matter of time before it would spread across the whole world.That brings us to my friend Dave Simon, former owner of Dave Simon's Rock School, who's taught thousands of kids how to play music and perform in a band. He emailed me the other day with an idea that he referred to as "Amaze it Forward."Not too long ago, Dave went to the dry cleaner to pick up his laundry. He planned to stop by the Starbucks next door after picking up his clothes. As the owner of the store handed him his change, Dave thought about what he calls "doing a Shep Hyken in reverse." Dave asked, "Can I get you a coffee from Starbucks?"The owner was flabbergasted by his kind offer and uttered, "Uh, uh... sure. I'll have a Cafe Americano!" He was so moved to have someone he served offer to serve him.We love when we receive amazing service, and I'm sure we all strive to provide an amazing service experience for our customers. Dave's idea is to do something amazing for the people who serve you - the people who don't expect you do to anything in return other than paying them for what they sell.One of our Shepard Letter subscribers, Jeff Scott, wrote in with a similar example. He was staying at a nice hotel in Japan. Before his departure, he wrote a thank you note in Japanese, using Kanji characters, and left it with a box of chocolates. Jeff said of his gesture, "Trying to practice being amazing, even when I'm the customer!"The next time someone gives you an amazing service experience, Amaze It Forward by doing something nice for them. It could be a cup of coffee, a gift card, or anything that will make them smile. When they thank you, let them know how much you appreciate them and that you hope that they will do the same for someone who is amazing to them. Being nice to others means they will be nice to you. Amazement works both ways!Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

Look Past the Obvious for a Better Solution

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 7 March 2019
Then I started to think. She rebooked me on the later flight. I wondered if there was an earlier flight from my home airport that would allow me to keep my original connecting flight. Sure enough, there was. I called the airline back and, once again, they were happy to accommodate my request.Here's the point of the story. I shouldn't have had to call back. The agent should have offered me the option of leaving on the earlier flight. She was very nice and willing to help. But she didn't look past the obvious, which was to check on a later flight. Given that I called hours before the flight, she might have looked at the earlier flight, which was actually a better option.This may sound like I'm criticizing her and I guess, in a way, I am. But, not about the way she treated me. She was a model customer service agent; friendly and helpful. However, the reality is that she should have thought to give me the option of taking the earlier flight. Proper training and coaching could have helped. I'm sure that if I had suggested looking at earlier flights she would have said, "Good idea."How many times do we find a solution to a problem and stop considering other options, potentially missing a better solution? After the fact you think, "Darn, I should have thought of that!"One way to come up with an alternative solution is to think about the opposite. In our airline example, what would have happened if the agent asked herself, "What's the opposite of being switched to a later flight?" The answer, of course, is an earlier flight. Then check to see if there is one.Opposite thinking is just one way to get into creative problem solving. There are many others. The point is that if you're working with a customer and trying to resolve a problem, consider all potential solutions, not just the first one you come up with. Even if the first one you think of turns out to be the best solution, you would know that you gave yourself and the customer other options to consider.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

Make Your Company's Name Your Brand Promise

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·28 February 2019
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure and honor of being the keynote presentation for River Valley Bank, soon to be Incredible Bank, as they merge the names of their brick-and-mortar banks and their online bank. I love that word, incredible, almost as much as my favorite word, amazing. If someone told you the customer service at a bank was incredible, you would only think positive things. What do they do that's so incredible? I want to try some of what they call incredible.What Incredible Bank is doing is interesting. They are putting it out there. Their name is a bold statement that is not just a name, but a brand promise. So as a customer, we will expect nothing less than an incredible customer experience. And those three words, incredible customer experience (what they refer to as I.C.E.), are the backbone of the name.What a great mantra! For those that don't know my definition of a customer service mantra, it's a short sentence or phrase that summarizes the service vision. The three words that Incredible Bank has chosen is perfect for what they want their customers to experience. As Todd Nagel, president of the bank, says, "I.C.E. is how we do business; everywhere, every time." It starts with each employee owning the moment, which means they recognize that every interaction with a customer is an opportunity for that customer to decide if the bank is delivering on the mantra and its brand promise. Every employee must own that responsibility. How does Incredible Bank operationalize I.C.E.? They start with a playbook that lists the standards that drive the vision, which include something as simple as the proper way to greet customers as well as more detailed processes. As I read through the handbook, I could sense the bank's vision and values coming through the pages. Ethics and behaviors are covered. Questions to trigger discussions and personal reflection are found throughout the book, implying that this isn't just something to be read, but to be used. More than a playbook, this is a manifesto, a declaration of what they stand for.So, if you were going to change the name of your organization to accurately describe what your customers would experience when they do business with you, what would that name be? What adjectives could you work into that name? I'm not suggesting that you change your name, as Incredible Bank has done, but it makes for an interesting conversation that will make you think about what you stand for when it comes to the amazing (or should I say incredible) service you want your customers to experience.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

Doing the Right Thing: A Habit Worth Mastering

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·25 February 2019
I received a note from M. N. Rao, one of our subscribers to The Shepard Letter. He shared a story that perfectly makes this point. The short version is this:On a recent trip to Dubai, Mr. Rao took a taxi to his client's office. About an hour later, he realized he left his phone in the taxi. He didn't have the driver's information, so he borrowed a colleague's phone to call his lost phone and hoped the driver would answer. Sure enough, he did. Mr. Rao explained what happened and an hour later the driver made his way back to the hotel where he had picked up Mr. Rao earlier that day. The driver dropped off the phone at the front desk. He didn't ask for money even though he had to take time out of his day to return to the hotel. He didn't leave a phone number or any other contact information. He just wanted to take care of his customer.I often write about how sometimes problems or complaints aren't our fault. That doesn't mean we can't step up and take care of our customers. When Mr. Rao left his phone in the taxi, it wasn't like he could complain to someone about it. No, it was his fault. He could only hope that his phone would be returned. While the driver could have demanded to be paid money to take the phone back to the hotel, he didn't. Yet he would have every right to do so. After all, it wasn't his fault the customer left his phone in the car. And most reasonable people would expect to pay the driver something for his effort.But not this time. The taxi driver didn't ask for money. He even chose to remain anonymous. He did it simply because, in his mind, it was the right thing to do.That's what customer-focused people do. They do the "right thing." They do it because helping a customer--or even a colleague at work--is what they like to do. It makes them feel good. It's a mindset, and practicing it turns it into a habit. Doing the right thing makes you feel good. Try it. Make it a habit. It's a habit worth mastering.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

Core Values are Decision Filters

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 7 February 2019
I'm honored to be the keynote speaker later this year at Office Pride, a franchisor of commercial cleaning service companies. All of the franchisees will be attending their annual meeting to network and learn about the latest and greatest opportunities happening in their industry. My job is to talk to them about customer service.As part of my homework, Todd Hopkins, their CEO, shared the Office Pride Culture book. As I was reading it, I came across a concept worth sharing. While Office Pride has created a great set of core values, Todd describes them as decision filters. He writes, "Our core values filter the outcome of what we, either impulsively or mindfully, decide to do."Core values are what an organization believes and stands for. These are the principles and beliefs that guide an organization - and the employees of that organization. Many organizations' core values include words like honesty and integrity. Office Pride's core beliefs and values are as follows:Honor GodAlways Do What is RightIncrease Brand ValueDemonstrate Honesty, Integrity, and Hard Work EthicTotal Customer SatisfactionGo the Extra MilePersevere with a Servant's AttitudeAccountability to CommitmentsThe key for core values to work is to keep them in front of you, memorize them, and be conscious of how they tie into your daily behavior with your customers and employees. Just writing them down without acting on them is simply a writing assignment.Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, came up with ten core values for his company. In his book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, Hsieh says he hires for those core values. He will also fire for a lack of any of the core values. That's how important they are to the health of his organization.It was Tony Hsieh's book that inspired Hopkins to write his own culture book, which is a great exercise for an organization to consider. This short 84-page book devotes a chapter to each of his eight core values, supported by examples of how Office Pride employees and franchisees live by them.So, back to Mr. Hopkin's concept of core values being a filter. If you are working for a company or going to work for a company, take time to understand their core values. Do they align with what you believe in? Can you live by these values? Is this the culture that you want to be a part of? If the answer is yes, then let the values be the natural filter that guides the way you perform and treat others.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)

The Best Feedback Question

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 1 February 2019
"Please stay on the line to answer a short, one-question survey at the end of this call."That's what I heard just before the agent picked up the phone to help me. Just a one-question survey? Sounds short enough. Sure, I'll give them an extra minute of my time. So after the call, I stayed on the line. What came right after the call was the promised simple question. It may be one of the best feedback questions I've ever heard. I put it right up there with the NPS (Net Promotor Score) question, which I'll share later. Here it is:"The next time you call us, would you want the same person to take care of you? Push 1 for yes and 2 for no."That's it. It's that simple. In one quick question, the customer gets to grade the support rep that took the call. It sums up if the customer was happy and if the agent did their job. No, it doesn't tell you if the problem was resolved or not, but that question could be for another day. I started to think about other one-question surveys that can give you a snapshot of what a customer thinks about a company. Here are a few questions to get you thinking--and each of these questions can be answered using the keypad of a phone.Let's start with the one that prompted me to write this article: the next time you call us, would you want the same person to take care of you?The Net Promoter Score: On a scale of, what's the likelihood you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?Was the question answered or the problem resolved to your satisfaction?On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our customer service?On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate the quality of our product?The secret to the success of the survey is the simplicity and speed by which the questions can be answered.In the perfect survey world, I like to follow up one of these questions with an open-ended question. Obviously, you can't answer that on a telephone dial pad, but if you email or text, you can follow up a simple question with a, "Why did you give us that score?" kind of question.I'm often asked by clients how to get more responses from customers who are sent surveys. You now know the secret: simplicity and speed. Just promise that it won't take a lot of time - a minute or less - and watch how many more surveys your customers take.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken(Copyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken)
Article by Shep Hyken

No Toilet Paper - Is Customer Service Getting Worse?

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·11 January 2019
Some people claim that customer service is getting worse. I disagree. Customers are getting smarter and expecting more. The customer service "bar" is raised by great companies who teach us what good customer service should be. And, when there is a customer service "horror story," it seems to stand out much more than when everything is right and works the way it's supposed to.My friend, Shary Raske, a motivational speaker and coach, sent in a story that reminds me that sometimes common sense isn't so common. This is the perfect example that might cause someone to think, "Customer service is getting worse!"Shary was on a road trip and needed to stop for gasoline. Before filling up the car with gas, she decided to go to the bathroom. She noticed there wasn't any toilet paper in the woman's restroom. After making sure the men's room wasn't being used, she checked there. No toilet paper there, eitherSo, Shary went asked the attendant working behind the counter and asked for toilet paper. His response was, "We don't have any."Now, this was a convenience store, and guess what? There was plenty of toilet paper for sale. All the attendant had to do was give Shary a roll of toilet paper. Now, some of you may point out, that the toilet paper on the floor is for sale, not for use. So, what! This isn't like the attendant had to work hard to come up with a creative solution. The toilet paper was staring him in the face. Was he worried his manager might be upset? If so, shame on that manager!Well, the attendant did come up with a solution. He told Shary, "You could use the toilet at the gas station across the street."She did. She also bought $26.67 worth of gas across the street.Here are just three thoughts on this rather unfortunate situation:It's obvious the employee was not empowered. That could be a sign of bad training.Maybe this was a just a "bad hire." Had Shary come at another time, a different employee might have recognized how simple the solution was and fixed the situation. Yet this employee was all Shary will remember about this store. One employee can create a perception for all employees.Why weren't the bathrooms checked on a regular basis for cleanliness and toilet paper? This is standard operating procedures for many public restrooms in restaurants, gas stations - really almost anywhere.There are more lessons and ideas to be discussed, but you get the idea. Sometimes the solution is so simple, it's almost ridiculous that someone can't come up with it. Share this story with your team. Ask them what their thoughts are about what happened. Sometimes a bad customer service example is a great learning opportunity.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @HykenCopyright MMXIX, Shep Hyken
Article by Shep Hyken

A Doctor's Prescription for Good Customer Service

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 3 January 2019
Here's another great story we can learn from. This reminds us that having a good system with good people who understand how to take care of their customers is the backbone of a good service experience.My friend, Dr. Neil Baum, the world-renown urologist, was speaking in Las Vegas at the Wynn resort. He noticed the electronic scale in the bathroom didn't work. He saw the housekeeper and mentioned the problem to her. Within a few minutes, there was a knock at the door and a man from engineering was there with a new scale. And, just a few minutes after the engineer left, Neil received a call from the front desk to make sure the scale was working and if there was anything else he needed. Contrary to the old saying, "What happens in Vegas stay in Vegas," Neil states, "That's a story that happened in Vegas, but it doesn't have to stay there!"So, Neil is telling everyone. And, he's calling it a Win-Wynn. The resort wins because they created a happy guest. The guest or customer wins because of the great service. Not to mention that this guest wants to tell the world about the experience. Furthermore, Neil says any type of business, even a doctor's office, can have a Win-Wynn.One of Neil's patients was a Medicare patient on a fixed income. He received a prescription for medication. The cost was several hundred dollars, and he had not yet met his insurance deductible. After a few days, he had an adverse reaction and had to discontinue the medication that he'd already paid for. Neil prescribed a different medication, but unfortunately, the patient couldn't afford it. What did Neil do? He was able to get some samples from the pharmaceutical company. That way the patient could avoid the additional expense. He called that a Win-Wynn.Neil says, "We are always trying to endear ourselves to our patients and help them achieve good health. Sometimes, it requires a little more effort, but in the end, it's worth the time and energy we put forth. When we create a Win-Wynn, we feel much better knowing we've gone a little above what is expected for our patients."The system the Wynn has for dealing with guest requests and complaints works. There are quick response and follow-up. That impresses a guest. A doctor that shows some empathy and takes the time to help a patient solve a financial dilemma, that impresses a patient.It doesn't matter if you're a big resort, a doctor's office - or any other type of business. When your system works, and you have competent people who make good customer-focused decisions, everybody is happy. That's a Win-Wynn!Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
Article by Shep Hyken

Ten Reasons Why Customers Choose To Do Business With You

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·27 December 2018
"People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." That quote comes from Simon Sinek, author of the book, Start with Why. This quote makes me think about the different reasons behind why a customer chooses to do business with a company. There are plenty of them to consider, so I put together a short list of some of these Whys:Price: Let's get this one out of the way first. Some people choose price as a primary reason. Those companies that get customers because of low price will lose those customers when someone else has a lower price. The loyalty to the company is because of price, not the company.Convenience: Who doesn't want an easy and frictionless experience? And, people are often willing to pay a higher price if the experience is convenient.Customer service: You love the way they treat you. Employees are friendly, knowledgeable, and quick to respond. They are there to take care of you, and in turn, you take care of them... by doing business with them.The culture: This is the kind of organization you want to be affiliated with. Your values are congruent with theirs.A Cause: You believe in what they believe in. At some level, this ties into culture and values, but this is more about giving back and community involvement. It can be a charity or any other cause that is important to you; everything from saving elephants to curing world hunger.Trust: You trust them. They do what they say, every time. If you don't trust the organization, you probably wouldn't be doing business with them anyway.Reputation: You've heard good things. Maybe it's comments from friends or colleagues at work. Or, maybe there are plenty of reviews that can confirm this is a good company. Reputation is a big part of the decision.Consistency: This ties in with trust and reputation. Outside of lying, if there is something that erodes trust quicker than anything, it's a lack of consistency. You want customers to use the word "always" to describe their experience with you. "They are always friendly, knowledgeable, helpful..." You get the idea.The Way: The way they do business: This is about their process, policies, the hours they are open, their location and more. It is really about their operation. These are very tangible reasons. These may get a customer in the door, but many of the other reasons are why customers choose to come back.The Why: Let's end where we started, with Simon Sinek's quote. All of these reasons (and more) may contribute to the decision of why a customer chooses one company over another. When you figure out a customer's Why and can scale it to meet the reasons and needs of a larger group, you connect on another level that brings customers back, again and again.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
Article by Shep Hyken

Do Your Customers Trust You This Much?

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·19 December 2018
There was a magic shop in Washington, DC owned by Al Cohen. I met Al when I was a teenager. As I started to perform more and more for money, I could afford to be a regular customer of Al's. Whether I bought tricks from his newsletter or came to the shop in person whenever I was in town, Al would consider me one of his "regulars." One day Al said, "Shep, I know what you like. I get new magic books and props in here every week. If you want, I can take your credit card number and send you whatever I know you'll want. If I'm wrong, send it back."Without hesitating, I handed over my credit card info. Every so often I would receive a package from Al's shop. He was never wrong. Not once did I return an item. He knew me so well - and treated me so well - that I trusted him.About ten years ago I had a little convertible. I bought it on eBay for a few thousand dollars. I referred to it as my "hunk of junk." It was fun to drive, and it was mechanically sound. The car was 35 years old, and most regular car dealers wouldn't work on it because of its age and the difficulty to source parts. I found a mechanic who had one bay in an industrial area and knew how to work on these older cars. I remember taking my car in for service and asking him, "What's this going to cost me?" He replied with a smile, "Half of what the dealer charges. You'll have to trust me." Well, I did, and he never disappointed me. Whenever he worked on my car, it was always less than I thought it would be, and I'm sure at least half of what a typical dealer would charge. I'm glad I trusted him.Not long ago I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. The owner asked if I trusted him to surprise me with a meal that he knew I would enjoy. I reminded him I didn't like mushrooms. He prepared an amazing meal. It wasn't on the menu. I had to trust him, and he didn't disappoint. I can't wait to go back and trust him again.These are simple examples just to make the point. It doesn't matter what type of business you are in, trust creates loyalty. Earning your customers' trust typically takes time. It comes from a predictable and consistent set of experiences. Your customers know what to expect, and you deliver every time. They also know you won't take advantage of them. So, how much do your customers trust you?

Be Different : By Shep Hyken

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·13 December 2018
If you compete head-to-head with your competition, you may win or lose. If you compete by being different, you stand out. And, that's a win.Over the years I've talked with many clients who are looking for ways to disrupt a competitor and/or win more business from existing customers. When we dig deep, I've found many clients are trying to compare themselves directly with their competitors. They want to make sure they offer at least what their competition is offering. It's not that they're trying to keep up. It's that they are trying to not be outdone by their competition.While I'm not excited about saying, "I want to be as good as them," I'm willing to accept that this can at least be a starting point. The next step is to improve on whatever the competition is doing. I have written about this in the past. You can benchmark with your competition, but just use that as the starting point. And, more than just being better, can you offer something that the customer can't get from the competitor. In other words, can you offer something that is different and makes you stand out?Growing up we learned that different can be difficult. Different isn't good. You're taught that you want to fit in. But, in business, you want to be different - as long as what makes you different is something the customer wants and appreciates. You want to be known for something.There are some great brands that are best known for one trait - that one trait that makes them different.Volvo is known for safety. They are not known for high-speed performance cars, nor do they choose to compete in that world.Huntington Bank differentiated themselves by extending the hours of operation. The recognized traditional hours were not convenient for the typical banking customer, so they extended their hours, staying open later during the week and being open on Saturdays.Ace Hardware stores are not nearly as big as their big-box competitors. They separated themselves by promoting that they are smaller, which makes it easier for their customers to get in and get out. They also pride themselves on a different brand of customer service they refer to as "helpful service."Southwest Airlines is known for low fares, not charging for checked bags and no change fees. They are not known for having cushy first-class seats and meal service.Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches is a typical sandwich shop that delivers, but what makes them different - and what they advertise - is how fast they deliver. In their words, they are Freaky Fast.So, what makes you different? Is it obvious? Do your customers know about this big difference? Do they care about the difference? Answer those questions and you will be competing on another level - a different level!

Let Your Customers Tell Your Story

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·29 November 2018
In the past, Ive written and talked about Telling Your Story. The idea is that you look to create the legendary type of stories that come from your employees and set the bar for the customer experience you want to deliver. Probably the best example is the famous Nordstrom story where a customer returned a set of used tires to a Nordstrom and the store employee gave the customer a refund. We all know that Nordstrom doesnt sell tires. If you dont know the entire story, you can simply Google Nordstrom Tire Story and youll find plenty of information confirming the validity of the story.The traditional way to get your story used to be to ask employees to share their best examples of the customer experience they created for a customer. Or, maybe a customer might write an accolade letter. Well, thanks to social media and online review sites, the customer now has a voice in your Tell Your Story efforts.Yes, we hope for positive reviews on the different review sites, Google and Facebook. But why stop there? Why leave it to chance for your customers to leave those positive comments? Why not create a campaign that gets the customers who love you to not only share but get some attention for themselves?So, heres my idea. Have your customers create videos that tell the story of what its like to do business with you. You could create a contest. Customers submit videos about how much they love doing business with you and why. This can be shot using an iPhone, although some may want to bump up the experience and do something more professional looking. It really doesnt matter, as long as they send something.By the way, why just do it with your customers? Why not do it with employees? One of my clients had an internal contest where groups of people, mostly within their own departments, although not always, submitted short three-minute videos. It was a great teambuilding experience. Once the videos were submitted, the company had a viewing party and awarded an Oscar statue for the team that created the best video, which by the way, was chosen by the audience as in fellow employees.Back to your customers. Their testimonials are powerful. Putting that into a video form means additional exposure compared to the written accolade. Consider putting these videos on your website and/or a YouTube channel. Be sure to ask permission before you do. Ask them to be honest, but also to have fun. Youll be surprised what you get. As a thank you gift for submitting their video, send them the replica Oscar statue I mentioned to give employees. Its a fun way of showing your appreciation and ties in with the movie theme.Think about the power behind real people or should I say, real customers sharing their story about you on video. Its powerful and different. Okay Thats a wrap!

Be as Easy as Ordering a Pizza

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 8 November 2018
Back in my college days, I remember how easy it was at 11:00 at night, while studying for a test the next day, to order a pizza from Domino's. I just picked up the phone and in less than thirty minutes, it was delivered. Today I do the same thing. I pick up the phone and order a pizza - but I don't have to... pick up the phone.Technology has taken us to a new level of pizza ordering. Picking up a phone to order a pizza is an option, but it's so old school. You can order online or use an app on your smartphone or tablet. Or, you can just use a voice command and order with Alexa or Google Home. And, once you order your pizza, you can track the order. You know when your pizza is being prepped when it comes out of the oven and when it's on its way. Domino's has made it easy - as in convenient.And, if you've been following my work, you know about my fascination with convenience. I wrote the book, The Convenience Revolution, and identified six "Principles of Convenience," one of them being delivery. I included Domino's as a case study in the book, but guess what? I didn't include them in the chapter on delivery. I included them in the chapter on technology.In 2008 Domino's was struggling and their brilliant leadership turned the company around. They recognized their pizza wasn't as good as it could be, and publicly stated it needed improvement. So, they improved. They also revolutionized their process and started building technology into the customer experience. The Domino's ANYWARE concept allows their customers to not only order the pizza with the toppings they desire but to connect with their neighborhood Domino's by more than ten ways, with more to come. They include:Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Zero Clicks, Text, Twitter, Ford Sync, Smart TV, Voice and Smart Watch. And, of course, you can still order using the traditional "land-line" phone.Consider that while some people still use the phone, a younger generation experienced these new apps as they were being released and have decided they don't want to use the phone anymore. And an even younger generation has never ordered a pizza with a phone, and they simply won't.The point is that even a pizza company recognizes the necessity to reinvent its processes to keep up with the times. Beyond being a better pizza, they wanted to make it easier on their customers, and that's what every company must do. Study what Domino's has done. What are they doing that you can do in your business? What can you do to be more convenient for your customers?

Always Do Your Best

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·31 October 2018
Our mantra at Shepard Presentations is to Always Be Amazing. Those three words are very important. They are totally consistent with what we stand for, what I write about in my books and articles, and how we conduct ourselves at work every day. It's simple...We want to be amazing for our employees.We want to be amazing for our clients.And, we want to teach our clients to be amazing to their customers, clients, guests, members - and anyone else they do business with.Last year I wrote a book titled Be Amazing or Go Home. I wrote about the concept of consistency and used acting legend Richard Burton as an example. The focus was on consistently doing your best. Every day Burton tried to perform at his best. When he performed in plays, night after night, as he was walking out on stage, he would say, "I want to be so good tonight that I cheat the audience that was here last night." In other words, be better today than yesterday.That's a lofty goal, but one worthy of trying to achieve. Maybe you do it. Maybe you don't. Regardless, you give it your best shot. Often, it's the effort of trying your best that gives others confidence about you. That's what brings customers back - when they can say, "I can depend on them to always do what's best." And, if for some reason there is a failure, it won't be for lack of effort.That brings me to another example of doing your best. Sometimes you may need a reason. That reason can be your personal motivation. I recently read a quote by another legend, this time in the sports world. It is said that baseball icon and Hall of Famer, Joe DiMaggio, was asked by a reporter, "Why do you play so hard every single day?" Dimaggio replied, "Because in the stands there may be someone who is seeing me for the first time or for the last time, and they expect my best."Yes, DiMaggio was a fierce competitor and came to every game to win. And, it was his second reason that added fuel that motivation. Just like Richard Burton, Joe Dimaggio knew people came to see him play. They came to see him do his best. And, he never wanted to let them down.So, what's your reason for wanting to do your best? What inspires you to be the best you that you can be? When you find it, and you live it, you'll come to work to be your best. Your customers will appreciate you. Your colleagues at work will appreciate you. And, you'll appreciate you!

The Shepard Letter - The New End

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·29 October 2018
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Sam Stern, a principal analyst at Forrester Researchfor my Amazing Business Radio show. One of the ideas we discussed was Daniel Kahneman's Peak-end rule. The short version of this concept, applied to customer interactions, is that customers judge their experience on how they felt at its peak and at its end.The topic came up as Sam and I were discussing surveys. Specifically, when surveys are sent and how they could potentially negatively impact the customer experience. Just when the customer thinks the experience is over, it's not. They receive a survey. That's the New End.In a typical transaction with your business, think about the last interaction your customer experiences. This can be any type of business. For example, the restaurant owner may thank the guests as they walk out the door. An automotive repair center may bring the customer's car to the front of the store for the customer to inspect before they drive away. An online retailer's customer's end may be when they open the box with their merchandise. These final moments appear to be the end of the customer's experience, but sometimes there's more.Sometimes the car dealership will send a survey to the customer. Or, the online retailer asks for a review of the product. Those become the New End to those customer interactions, and sometimes that New End can taint the experience.I love a certain hotel that I've stayed at several times. The hotel is clean, the rooms are nice, the restaurants are great, and the staff is always friendly and helpful. I couldn't ask for more. Two days after my first stay I received a survey. I was happy to fill it out. What I thought would be a short survey took almost ten minutes. Still, I wanted to give some credit to the staff, so I took the time to complete the survey. After my next visit, I received the same survey. This time, I did not complete it. Nor did I complete it after the third and fourth visit.The point of that short story is to emphasize that when I walked out of the doors of that hotel, that was not the end. The New End appeared 48 hours later, and it wasn't a positive end.What if that survey had been three short questions? How would I have felt about it? Or, with the ability of computers today, why doesn't their system recognize me as a repeat guest and send me a shorter survey, as in two or three questions, to ensure I felt the same way as the first visit?Think about what the last thing your customer experiences in a typical interaction with you and your organization. Is it a long, multi-page survey that causes survey fatigue and anxiety? Or, is it a thank you note expressing appreciation that will remind your customer about their positive experience with you? Whatever it is, that New End becomes what I refer to as the True End. It's your customer's final experience of that interaction that also sets the tone for future business.

Take Your Customers Where They Need to Go, Not Where They Want to Go

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 3 October 2018
On a recent trip to Africa, I had the pleasure of meeting the Governor of Oyo State, Nigeria, the Honorable Abiola Ajimobi. He had a commanding presence and shared many insightful thoughts. I asked what made him successful, and he quickly responded with the following response: "Good leaders don't take people where they want to go. They take them where they need to go."We continued the conversation about how he was elected to a second term as Governor, which was not that common. He always has his state and country in mind when he makes decisions. He knows what's good for his people and Oyo State. He knows there could be some pain involved in giving them what they need, which often is different than what they want. This was a leader sharing his philosophy, and my mind was racing with ideas about how it applies to customer service and the customer experience.It's really quite simple. When we find out what our customers want if it's not what they need, and we know it, are we willing to tell them? Here are a couple of examples to make the point:Years ago, I was working on a project with an attorney. We were discussing different approaches to the problem, and I had an idea. He said, "If that's what you want, I'll do it." I told him, "I don't know if that is what I want. I'm just sharing an idea." And, he followed up by saying, "As I said, I'll be happy to do it." His mindset was to do what his client asked for, not necessarily what was best for his client. And, that was the end of that relationship.I went to my local Ace Hardware store. I came in with a special hinge for a swinging door. I asked if they had one in stock. The salesman could have simply said, "Yes," and sold me what I asked for. But, that didn't happen. Instead, he asked me about the kind of door I was going to use. He made a suggestion of another type of hinge, which was much less expensive. He said, "This is what you need. If you replace what you have, you'll be back here in a year or so to replace it again." Had he not asked me how I was using the hinge, he would have never known to sell me the other, less expensive hinge. He sold me what I needed versus what I thought I wanted.The lesson is simple. Good customer service isn't always giving a person what they want. It's giving them what they need. It's nice when they are the same, but that's not always the case. Need versus want. And, the best people in customer service know how to do it with tact and diplomacy - in a way that gets the customer to want to come back.Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Never Take Your Eyes Off The Customer

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·14 September 2018
One of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis, where I live, is Tony's. You may be familiar with Tony's if you have been following my articles and videos for a while. They are an outstanding example of a great product - their food - and amazing service. So, good in fact that they are one of the businesses that don't have to exceed expectations. They are so good at what they do, all they have to do is meet expectations to amaze their guests.When Tony's first opened they were a very formal restaurant. Servers were in tuxedos, men wore suits and ties and the women wore fancy dresses. Also, "back then," they were in a different location. It was a multi-level building. I was always impressed when the maitre d' would escort you to the table, and when he walked up the stairs, he walked backward. I thought, how interesting. This must be an extremely formal way of taking a guest to his or her table. Well, decades later, I now have the story.I interviewed Kim Tucci, entrepreneur and restaurateur, for my Amazing Business Radio show, and if you haven't listened to it, you should. There are many excellent customer service tips from a veteran in the hospitality business. Many years ago - as in almost 50 years ago - Kim worked at Tony's, and he's the one who came up with the idea of walking backwards up and down the stairs. It turns out that it wasn't because of a fancy or formal ritual. It was born out of necessity.On any given weekend night, the restaurant was packed. Sometimes the wait for a table was three hours. But, the food and service had the reputation for being stellar, and people were willing to wait. My friend, Kim, was the maitre d', and one busy Saturday night he was escorting his guests to their table. He asked them to follow him, and about halfway up the stairs turned around and they weren't there. Somehow, they had lost sight of Kim and went in the wrong direction. At that moment, Kim decided he would never take his eye off the guest, and the infamous walking backwards up and down the stairs ritual began.The Lesson: Never take your eye off your customers. If you do, they might get lost. You must guide them, but it is more than guiding them to a table in a restaurant. In business, you must guide them to make good decisions - one of which is doing business with you. Don't let them get lost, or they may stray to doing business with the competition. Stay focused on doing the right thing for your customers, and they will stay focused on you.

Sometimes It's Just the Right Thing to Do

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 6 September 2018
We can train people on how to deliver good customer service. We teach people how to greet customers when they walk in the store, how to properly answer the phone when customers call the company and much more. It's easy to teach the basics. They are part of the operation and the process. They happen every day. But, sometimes there are opportunities to deliver customer service when it's not expected. An employee does something, not because they were taught to do it, not because it's expected, but simply because it's intuitively the right thing to do.This reminds me of a job that I had while I was in college. Sometimes people asked me about my job, and I said, "I'm in the oil business." Then, I would pause two or three seconds to let that comment sink in. I knew what they were thinking, "Wow, a young guy still in college. How did he get into the oil business? Impressive!" Then I continued with, "Which means I pump gas."Of course, they would laugh. And, even the comment about pumping gas wasn't 100% accurate. I worked at a self-service gas station. People pumped their own gas. I just took the money. But, one day I actually did pump gas.On that Saturday morning, it was bitter cold. The temperature was minus three below zero. The chill-factor was even lower than that. An elderly woman drove into the gas station. She had to be in her eighties, and she looked frail. She stepped out of her car and slowly walked around her car to the gas pump when I ran out of the building and asked her to get back inside her warm car. I informed her that I would be happy to fill her car up with gas. She smiled and thanked me.Eventually, I came back into the warm building and my manager asked me what I had just done. I told him I filled that lady's car up with gas. He then said, "Son, we're a self-service gas station. That means our customers pump their own gas. Now that lady is going to expect this the next time she comes back here."I couldn't believe he was criticizing me for helping an elderly woman. I responded, "Well, at least she'll come here instead of going to the gas station across the street."The point of this story is that I didn't fill that customer's car up with gas because I had to. It's because I wanted to. Sometimes that is where the best customer service takes place. In the moments where you don't have to do something for someone out of obligation, but simply because it feels like it's the right thing to do. And, it usually is!

The Convenience Question: How Easy Am I To Do Business With?

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·15 August 2018
Over the years I've taught a concept I refer to as the One Thing Question. This is a very simple question to use in a survey as a follow-up to the simple survey question, like the Net Promoter Score question (NPS). For those that may not be familiar with the NPS survey question, it is simply this: On a scale of zero to ten, what is the likelihood that you would recommend us to a friend, colleague or family member. This simple question gives you an idea if your organization did well enough for the customer to recommend you. The follow-up question is this:Is there one thing you can think of that would make doing business with us better?The idea is that if you have a number of customers suggesting the same "one thing," you need to pay attention. And, if the ideas are coming from the customers giving you high ratings, then the suggestions are giving you the opportunity to improve on greatness. So, here's a twist on the typical one thing question. Let's assume you are customer focused and your organization is providing a level of customer service that earns consistent high scores. Where can you go from here? In addition to the great service, be easy and convenient to do business with. That's the subject of my new book, The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty. This is the next level of customer service. So, the twist on the one thing question is this:Is there one thing you can suggest that would make doing business with us easier or more convenient?Some companies make convenience part of, if not all of, their value proposition. They know it separates them from their competition. Huntington Bank has extended hours for their customers, so they can bank after normal business hours and on weekends. CLEAR provides a solution to the frequent traveler that hates waiting in security lines in the airport. Walmart has strategically placed their stores so that 90% of people in the US are less than 10 minutes from a Walmart. Restaurants that choose to use the NoWait app lets their guests add their names to the waiting list at a busy restaurant and time their arrival so that when they show up they are near the top of the list.So, what one thing (or more) can you do to be more convenient for your customers? Come up with the answer and you may get more business from your existing customers and steal away customers from your competition.

Don't Blame Me. I Just Work Here

Shepard Presentations, LLC. · 2 August 2018
We were stunned by his response. I broke the silence by stating, "Well, it looks like I have material for my next article."I was hoping that he was joking when he gave his excuse, but unfortunately, he wasn't. So, let's talk about what happened. We all have two jobs: Our server didn't recognize his most important responsibility, which was to take care of his customer. He just viewed himself as the guy who delivers the food. Everyone must recognize that they have two jobs; to do the job that they are hired to do and to take care of the customer.Be an ambassador for your brand: Our server didn't realize one of his very important responsibilities, that he was an ambassador for his restaurant. More than just doing his job as a server and taking care of his customer or guest, he is also part of something bigger. His actions reflect on all the other employees. After the dinner, our friends made comments like, "They really have bad service." The reality is that the restaurant usually has good service. Most of the other employees, if not all of them, are very good at what they do. Yet, one employee ruined the reputation of everyone.Don't blame others: Our server played the blame game. "I don't make them. I just serve them." He was blaming the chef and his staff for the mistake. It may not have been his fault, but that doesn't mean he couldn't accept the responsibility of managing the experience. A simple apology is a good start. And, making it right, in this case, would have been easy. Just bring the guest a new salad.Nobody and no company is perfect. There will always be mistakes and problems. Some are small, and some are large. It's how they are handled that is the true test of excellence. A problem is an opportunity to show how good you are. A complaint is a gift, allowing you to respond in a way that proves to the customer that they made the right decision to do business with you.

Customer Experience And Employee Experience

Shepard Presentations, LLC. ·26 July 2018
Why should someone do business with us?In other words, why us instead of our competition. What do we do differently than our competitor? And, even if it is different, do our customers care? And, more importantly, will that difference make a customer do more business with us versus others that sell a similar product or service? These are great questions that can cause us to have two to three hours of conversation. Today, there is a twist. If you've been following my work, you know that I believe that what's happening on the inside of a company is felt on the outside by the customer. Just as a company wants to keep their best customers, there also needs to be a focus on what you do to keep employees. So, the new question isn't about customers. It's about employees and the employee experience (EX). And, that question is:Why would someone want to work for our company?While this question may seem totally focused on the employee, it really isn't. Yes, it goes to the way employees are treated, but it also directly ties to the customer experience. Because, without happy employees, you aren't going to have engaged employees. And, a lack of engagement has a direct impact on the customer experience.There are plenty of stats and facts that prove to be the best place to buy from, you have to be the best place to work for. Take a look at the list of the top 100 companies who provide the best customer service and you'll see a lot of overlap with the top 100 companies who are considered the best places to work. You can't ignore the obvious.So, is your CX in balance with your EX? Do you have engaged employees who feel a sense of ownership and pride when they are at work? Do they own their customer's experience? In other words, do they take responsibility for their role in creating a good CX? Answer these questions and you'll have an idea of the direction you're headed - or need to head - to create an amazing customer experience.

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