He Said He’ll Be Back: Shep Hyken

He Said He’ll Be Back: Shep Hyken


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On this week’s episode, star speaker, friend of the show and returning guest Shep Hyken rejoins the Voices of CX Podcast to discuss his new book, I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again and Again.

About Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is the CSP, CPAE is the CAO (Chief Amazement Officer) of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service and experience expert and keynote speaker, Shep works with companies that want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His focus is on delivering amazing customer service, customer engagement, managing the customer experience and creating customer loyalty. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.

In 1983 Shep founded Shepard Presentations and since then has worked with hundreds of clients ranging from Fortune 100 size organizations to companies with less than 50 employees. Some of his clients include American Airlines, AAA, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, AETNA, Abbott Laboratories, American Express – and that’s just a few of the A’s!

Shep Hyken’s most requested programs focus on customer service, customer loyalty, internal service, customer relations and the customer experience. He is known for his high-energy presentations, which combine important information with entertainment (humor and magic) to
create exciting programs for his audiences.

For more information about his new book, I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again & Again, visit IllBeBackBook.com

Connect with Shep Hyken

Follow Shep Hyken on LinkedIn
Follow Shep Hyken on Twitter @Hyken

And we did it live! Check out the guests’ beautiful faces on video below:

Connect with the Voices of CX

Follow Worthix on LinkedIn
Follow Worthix on Twitter: @worthix

Follow Mary Drumond on LinkedIn
Follow Mary Drumond on Twitter: @drumondmary

The Voices of CX Podcast is a podcast that covers all things business strategies, customer decision insight, empathetic leadership practices, and tips for sustainable profitability. With a little bit of geeking out on behavioral science, A.I. and other innovation sprinkled in here and there. The guests span multiple industries, but all of them have years of experience to bring to the table.

Got something to say about CX or want to be featured on the show? Let us know!
Email the Producer ([email protected]).


Mary Drumond: Ladies and gentlemen, we are back one more episode of Voices of Customer Experience. We are at season eight, and today I am joined by a good friend, a close friend that I have built an awesome relationship with over the years. I’m so comfortable today that I’m sitting criss-cross here because this is just a familiar chit-chat among friends. Today, Shep Hyken. Shep, how are you? Thank you so much for coming on.

Shep Hyken: I am doing great. I’m feeling good, very excited. I’d criss-cross too, you’re more limber than I am. But hey, I’m excited to be here. We’re going to talk about the new book. Very excited about that. How to get customers to come back again and again, which is why we call the book, “I’ll Be Back.”

Mary Drumond: I know that there is a really big reference to the Terminator here. And you, you use that. You know what, I’m going to have. You know, I brought mine so that we can sit here and just be in our sunnies.

Shep Hyken: This is the Terminator look.

Mary Drumond: I’m like, a bougie Terminator.

Shep Hyken: You gotta say it right. You have to say it with the accent. “I’ll be back.” Go ahead.

Mary Drumond: I’ll be back.

[The following dialogue from Shep Hyken’s book trailer]

Shep Hyken: Hi Shep, Hyken here. And I’m very excited to share with you the preview of my new book, which by the way, is rated A for Amazing. Both the preview and the book. Hope you enjoy.

In a world where business is more competitive than ever, customers are smarter and expect a better experience, repeat customers are gold and loyal customers are sacred. So how do you get your customers to come back? Customer service expert and New York Times bestselling author Shep Hyken shows you how in his latest book, “I’ll Be Back” How to Get Your Customers to Come Back Again and Again.

“I’ll be back.” These three words may remind you of a famous line from the movie Terminator, but they take on a different meaning in business. “I’ll be back.” These are the three words you want to hear from all your customers.

It’s frustrating when you make customers wait.

Terrible service! Relationship: Terminated.

Watch how chaos and confusion could frustrate a customer.

Do I look like I have two left feet? This is terrible service. How long does it take to find a pair of shoes that fit?! Relationship: Terminated.

How long do I have to wait?

I’ll be with you in just a minute, sir.

Don’t make a commitment to a customer that you can’t keep.

It’s been 45 minutes. He said just a minute. Horrible service! Relationship: Terminated.

Notice how being proactive and anticipating a customer’s needs creates a great experience.

We’ve been expecting you. Here’s your package.

Great service. I’ll be back.

Mary Drumond: So I’ll be back. Your book is about bringing customers back again and again, I imagine.

Shep Hyken: Yeah. Well, that’s exactly what it’s about. This idea has been bouncing around in my mind for a long time. We do a lot to measure customer satisfaction. We look at NPS scores, net promoter score. I can’t imagine anybody doesn’t know what that is, but just in case, on a scale of zero to 10, what’s the likelihood you’d recommend us?

A nine or a 10 score is a promoter, seven or eights are passives. Meaning they’re not actively willing to recommend, or you don’t know where they are. Maybe they’re willing to go the other direction and leave you. And then anything less than that, it’s a detractor. There’s all kinds of ways to measure. But what you’re typically measuring is history. How was the last experience or how has your experience been and what behavior measures is what’s actually happening.

So a few years back, I was working for a client in the hair salon business. They were a franchisor of hair salons. They had over a thousand of them and there were managers and owners of these franchises in the audience. By the way, I’m thinking, isn’t this funny? They hired the bald guy who can’t do market research and go find out just how good they are to do the speech.

But I digress. And the CEO was talking to me about how they measure success. And he says, you know, we’d like to know whether they were happy with their haircut. We liked to know whether they’d be willing to recommend, but really what we want to know is their behavior. Are they coming back? Not, you know, will they come back?

It’s are they actually coming back? He says, we understand the different types of customers we have. For example, Mary, how often do you get your hair done? Once a week? Once a month?

Mary Drumond: Every eight weeks.

Shep Hyken: So six times a year, you’re going to your salon. Do you go to the same song over and over again?

The same person? Yes. You do.

Mary Drumond: Over and over.

Shep Hyken: If you skipped a couple of times, that would mean that could be four months, right? Would they notice?

Mary Drumond: Oh, for sure.

Shep Hyken: Would they call you? Would they want to find out why is something wrong? Are you sick? Did you go out of town? Did you move? You know, what happened? Well, it’s the behavior.

So they know your cadence as a regular and loyal customer, ideally, is six times a year. Another customer might be 12 times a year. But you get the idea, and what they wanted to do, what this gentleman was telling me is he wants to make sure customers fall into the proper routine of being a repeat customer, ideally a loyal customer.

And we talk about how there’s a difference between repeat customers and loyal customers in the book, I’ll Be Back, but that’s the idea,: measure behaviors. So this idea has been bouncing around in my mind for a long time. I even wrote an article or two about it. And then I said, you know what? I think it’s time to write a book.

I have a bunch of new material that’s going to drive this concept and really give people a good idea of how they can create that “I’ll be back” culture that gets customers to come back again and again. So that’s kind of how it all started.

Mary Drumond: That’s awesome. How many books have you written so far Shep?

Shep Hyken: This is the eighth book, plus we revised one of them and just rereleased that one right at the beginning of COVID. What a perfect time to release a book. Amazon wouldn’t even send it out for like a month. There were too many other more important items like bread and toilet paper.

Mary Drumond: Well, I’m glad you got that out there because I mean, I guess in the second stage, everybody was just bored out of their minds and looking to a form of self-improvement was really big during lockdown. So I’m sure a lot of people were able to get a lot of lessons out of that. Was the book that you rereleased, had it previously been your most successful book or was it just older?

Shep Hyken: It was one of them, yeah. It was Cult of the Customer, was the title of the book. And actually when it came out, it hit the, I think it was number two on the Wall Street Journal list, which is pretty cool. And this was, gosh, maybe. 13, 14 years ago, 15 years ago. And the reason I wanted to rewrite it is I had an opportunity with a new publisher to bring it back to market and give it a new life.

And as I was reading through the books I realized there’s a lot of stats and facts that need to be updated. There was even a gentleman that was in jail that I needed to take out of the book completely, as I used him as an example. So it was a good time to do it. And actually the publisher said I’ve got a market for this book.

I have a book club, a very large book club that wanted to buy the book at a reasonable price. And the only way to get it done was to bring it out in paperback and rerelease it. And so I rewrote it, re-released it. I’d actually started this book, however, prior to the pandemic, had no idea that was going to happen.

And ideally, it’s like, well, we would never have this happen, and I’d be doing lots of speeches and people would be meeting at big events and they would be buying thousands of books to give away at their events. Well, that didn’t happen. But what is interesting is that the title “I’ll Be Back” is kind of coinciding, even though there’s this Delta variant right now, we’re all starting to come back and hopefully we’re going to continue, even though we take two steps forward, maybe a little bit of a step back with something like the Delta variant.

And by the way, it’s been said as the research indicates that there are going to be other variants, but if we just keep moving forward, we’re coming back. We’re all going to be, I wouldn’t say it’s going to be… I hate that term new normal. Normal is normal, but it will look a little bit more like used to be than it has been over the last year and a half or so.

So I’ll be back takes on a meaning at that level as well.

Mary Drumond: That’s great. Now, do you think that, I know you’ve been doing this for awhile. Do you think that now more than ever, companies are open to hearing your message or has it kind of been consistent along your career?

Shep Hyken: Well, it has been consistent for me.

And it’s not just open to hearing my message, but thank you very much. I’ve been doing this now for, gosh, I don’t want to say maybe longer than you are old.

Mary Drumond: No, I remember from our last interview that you started out in 1984. And that is the year that I was born, therefore-

Shep Hyken: Actually I started in 1983. So you were one year old.

I was one-year-old in my business when you were just born. That’s right. Good memory. And anyway, I’ve been doing this awhile and very, very lucky that I’ve been very, very busy, but one of the reasons I’ve been able to stay busy for this long, is that sometime it- you know, I lose track of time a little bit, but it was probably 12, 15 years ago, maybe. Customer experience and customer service started to become really, really important to businesses. And they started to invest more and more into it. A lot of them were saying they were doing it and thinking they were doing it. They just weren’t going about it quite the right way.

And by the way, it’s been a hot topic. It’s extremely hot right now, the concept of customer experience. And so our clients have been, you know, we’ve been very lucky and obviously I can only do and work with so many at one time. And I have trainers that go out and deliver my content. So we’re able to spread it even wider.

I have an on-demand video-based learning system that we have multiple courses on there. So we have clients that, that use that to sustain the message service and experience is important. And then every once in a while I come up with a new book like I’ll Be Back. So there you go. That’s what made it work.

Mary Drumond: You know, a lot of your focus is on customer service. And customer service has undergone a revolution in the past few decades, which is the digital revolution where everything is going more into the digital sphere, but there is still a lot of focus for just picking up the phone and calling.

And this is something that we discussed in our pre-call you and I, and I know that you’ve done some research around this. When it comes to companies, looking at their customer service and understanding the best way to reach their customers, would you agree that lots of times companies have a perception of what the industry looks like that may not be entirely accurate when it comes to the ways that customers reach out to organizations? And can you get into that a little bit for me?

Shep Hyken: Sure. So, we interviewed over a thousand consumers, statistically valid. We looked at a general cross section of what the world- actually, not what the world, but what North America looks like.

It’s based on age, ethnicity, geography, gender, and we even asked for income. So we wanted to see if there was any differences between people that made more than 75,000, less than 75,000 more than 200,000. It was really very, very interesting. But one of the sections in the report that we created was about communication.

What are the preferences that customers have? And the exact question that we asked was “In general, what is your preferred method of communication when contacting a company for customer service?” Number one, and it has been for a while, is still the telephone. Number two, email, followed by online chat. In person is obviously, if that’s the kind of business you’re in, people might see you in person, but we’re looking more about the channels of communication, texting, brand app, at the very bottom is social media.

And what’s interesting is some companies want their customer to use channels and they’re trying to, in order to make that happen, you can train your customers to use those channels, but you have to understand that starting out, the general preferences that most customers have are in the order I just mentioned.

And to get even a clearer picture, if you ask a baby boomer, you know, older generation, 57 to 65, 88% of them would rather go to the phone. If you ask gen Z 18 to 25, that’s about 53%. Now there’s 25% difference there, but what’s interesting is that 53%, Gen Z, email is their preferred method.

And I was actually surprised. I thought it would have been text, but no, email comes in at 56% for Gen Z, followed by the telephone, followed by online chat, and then goes to texting. But here’s the thing about social media. Everybody thinks social media is really, really important to customer service and it absolutely 100% is, but sometimes not for the reasons that people think and, you and I, I believe met in person at Social Media Marketing World, correct?

Mary Drumond: Yes.

Shep Hyken: And our good buddy, Dan Gingiss started to do something with that conference where he said, Hey, social customer care is a big thing. Brands want to learn more about it. So we actually put a track together of experts in customer service, who also understood how it worked with social media. Well, I always argued that social media is coming on stronger and stronger, and it is. It’s gone from nothing to being a legitimate channel. But the other day, and I say the other day, two months ago or so I was in a conference and I’m on this board of advisors and we were talking to a bunch of CX executives of some of the largest brands in the world.

And one of the brands says, we are ramping up our social media customer care. Why? We’re seeing more and more of our customers turning to social care. We’re adding dozens of people to the team to manage the social care. I said, why are you doing that? And they gave me the reasons.

And I said, well, let me show you what my research is indicating to me anyway, that social customer care is not the most important channel and there’s a reason that you are seeing more and more customers turn to social. That is because you’re doing such a terrible job on the telephone and the email support that they feel they have to go to social.

To put it in your words, to seek revenge on the company. Because the only way they’re going to get heard is to air the dirty laundry that they’ve experienced. And I didn’t use the words revenge, but I said, the reason is because your email and your phone support, aren’t doing it and they feel they have to go to that channel.

There’s a big difference. They’re going there because they have no other choice. Not because it’s their preferred choice.

Mary Drumond: Yeah. You know, referring back to our friend Dan Gingiss, I remember when I had him on the podcast and on the multiple times that we’ve collaborated together, one thing that he always mentioned is that a social presence is really important because you do have to be willing to meet your customers where they are. But that does not necessarily mean that you’re going to be doing customer service. It can mean just listening or, um, reaching out when someone mentions you, or when someone has a demonstration of loyalty by sharing a purchase from your organization with their network.

It’s not always about problems, and many, many times it’s also about how much they admire or like, or get some sort of gratification off of doing business with your brand. And it’s important for companies to be there to acknowledge that. I’m an avid social media poster.

And when I do tag a company that I do business with in my stories or on my timeline, it really does feel good to be acknowledged, even if it’s just a double tap with a like. It makes such a big difference in how I feel I identify with that organization if they’re acknowledging me in the way that I’m acknowledging them.

And I do think that a big portion of the social media part of customer service has to do with that acknowledgement more so than the service, because we’re kind of prepared when we have an issue, we’re prepared to get on the phone. Because it really is the easiest way.

Shep Hyken: You’re talking about customer service, but what you’re actually, I think referring to is customer experience, because you’re not responding to a problem to fix it, which by the way, people would sometimes think they have great customer service, they respond to everything. But no, it’s actually a great customer experience.

So I believe service is a philosophy, not a department. We should not call it the customer service department. We should call it customer support. Actually, I think we should call it customer retention or revenue generation, because that’s what these folks really do.

They save customers and they ensure that they’re here for the future. I think that’s the most important way to position them. But when we’re talking about the experience they have in social, interacting with the brand, that is an experience that we want them to have. We want to say, thank you.

The other night, I went to the most wonderful restaurant. My daughter works up in New York and she works for this very famous chef and I’ll share with you the restaurant. Let’s give them a little plug, La Pavillon. It’s very fancy French restaurant and. Very fancy. The chef is Daniel Boulud, one of the most famous chefs in the world.

And my daughter has the honor of working with him and she said, dad, we’re going to go there. They’re going to take such great care of us. Well, they did. They gave us incredible service. They gave us incredible food and the experience was amazing. The reason I bring this up is, for fun, I wanted to see in a restaurant at this level, what the Yelp reviews were. And there were, it’s a brand new restaurant, so there’s not that many yet. By the way, you’re talking to a very- well, I’m not talking to- they’re doing business with a very, very high end customer that I’m surprised they’re going on Yelp and leaving reviews.

Okay. But they are! And there are a lot of five star reviews and they’re describing very specific things about the meal they experienced, including the people that work there. What I loved is there’s this manager, her name is Nancy, and she’s like the manager of operations there. And she responds to every one.

Now there were a couple of three and four star reviews, which she said, oh, I wish we could have done better. Would you mind reaching out to me? Here’s my email. She put her email for the world to see. Okay, would you mind reaching out to me and sharing that experience that you had so I know what we can do to make it better for you next time and everyone else?

And even if it was a four out of five, she said no, we deserve a five out of five, but all the fives: thank you so much. We’re so glad. And she always commented. I was very impressed. That’s customer experience in action on social media.

Mary Drumond: Yeah. And it’s interesting because in the restaurant industry, in cities like foodie cities, San Francisco, New York, even LA…

Shep Hyken: Even Atlanta.

Mary Drumond: Yeah,

Shep Hyken: Panos & Paul’s, that’s one of the best!

Mary Drumond: But if you consider how strong Yelp is. I have a friend who owns a Mexican restaurant up in San Francisco in Hayes Valley, and she was telling me that Yelp is a make or break for restaurants and really focusing your attention on making sure that people feel heard and acknowledged, because, let’s agree that there are some people who just have nothing better to do with their time.

These people exist, but they’re not the majority. The majority just wants to be heard. They just want to be acknowledged. And you’re right. That is customer experience, because it has to do with understanding how the overall sentiment or the overall perception that the customer had with your brand, whether it was good or bad.

Now, customer service can step in when there is a problem to be solved. Is that it? Is that what you would consider the customer support?

Shep Hyken: Obviously, if somebody is making any type of a post on any social channel, it could be Yelp, it could be Twitter, it could be Facebook, Instagram, and the company, the brand needs to be aware of all of these channels and what’s being said and interact appropriately.

And our good friend, Jay Baer says, and he’s probably been on your show as well?

Mary Drumond: Yes, he has.

Shep Hyken: Yes, he has. Jay says social customer care, if you will, social customer care is a spectator sport. As soon as the customer throws the jab, how does the company respond? And I have a philosophy that they need to respond to everything good and bad, but when it comes to the bad, there’s several things that have to happen.

Number one, you got to respond quickly. Number two, you got to say immediately- so I have this five-step process where you acknowledge and apologize. That’s one and two, or flip them around, apologize and acknowledge. Discuss the resolution, own what comes your way and act with urgency. And that five step process is geared not just to fix a problem, but to restore the confidence of the customer.

So if I see a post, I’m a brand and I see a post that’s negative, I’m not going to wait three days or four days to respond. I need to respond as quickly as possible, literally minutes or at the most hours, okay? Apologize and acknowledge. And then say, I want to fix this for you. And by the way, by saying, “I want to fix this” you are accepting ownership and by acting urgently, which is number five, you’re already showing that you’re doing that. I want to fix this for you. Can we get into direct message mode so I can better understand what happened and see what I can do to make this right?

Now, the whole world can see that you are now trying to fix this problem, and in the perfect world while it doesn’t always happen, the customer after the problem has been resolved will – first of all, the company comes back and says, Hey, glad we got this worked out. Thanks for letting me take care of this for you. Then in the perfect world, the customer comes back and says, yes, you’re wonderful. Thank you very much. I’m glad I made my comment here and I’m really surprised you got back to me so quickly and I’m even more surprised, you know, that’s the perfect, perfect, perfect world.

Just even some sense of acknowledgement from the customer that you’ve resolved, the issue would be ideal. But, you get the idea. That’s what we want. Respond with urgency. Acknowledge, apologize, discuss resolution, move it offline, fix it, come back. Make your comment, hope the customer responds.

Mary Drumond: I have a question to ask because it’s been going on in my brain for a while and I’ve been saving it for you.

Shep Hyken: Oh wow, for how long has this been going on?

Mary Drumond: I’m going to say like two months.

Shep Hyken: Oh man, you haven’t just picked up the phone and called?

Mary Drumond: I wanted to share it! Come on, I want the spontaneous reaction. I don’t want this to be planned. This isn’t a planned podcast. I was discussing this with my husband and we couldn’t come to a conclusion that felt solid enough for me to get behind it.

So here’s my question for you. When it comes to solving an issue for customers, many organizations will jump in with some form of compensation. Right? In hospitality, sometimes they will comp your stay or your meal, or throw in a free dessert or something like that. In other cases, they’ll give you a coupon or a voucher to return at a later date to try to improve on that experience.

Now, do you think that this is always the best way to solve it? Because when it comes down to it, these things do cost money. It’s not every case that the customer requires that financial compensation in order to feel like the problem was addressed and fixed. Sometimes all they need is for someone to acknowledge and apologize.

Shep Hyken: Right.

Mary Drumond: In other cases, sometimes all they need is for somebody to take care of their issue. For instance, I need another pillow in my bedroom. Can you please get me another pillow?

Shep Hyken: That’s more a request than a complaint.

Mary Drumond: Sure, sure. But in general, do you feel like jumping to some form of compensation is the best way to do things? Is that the best process? What are your thoughts on this?

Shep Hyken: Yeah, to me, that type of thing is just simply a band-aid to fix a problem that probably has a deeper cut than you can actually see. It’s very easy to say, oh, I’m sorry, here’s a free meal. By the way, about 82% of the time, if you complain in a restaurant, you’ll get something for free, which is why you should always complain.

Even if you have nothing-I’m just kidding! I’m just kidding. But seriously. That’s the first thing in the restaurant business, people say, oh, let me take it off the bill. I don’t really believe that’s the good way of doing it, I believe if you manage the experience quickly… so a true story, I’m at a restaurant in Dallas and I’m one of eight people at a round table.

 And the server was terrible. I knew this the moment the server started with us, and my buddy and I are just kind of joking about it. But then the salad comes and everybody gets their salads. And my buddy who’s sitting next to me, his salad, it looks like most of it’s gone. Everybody else’s has got a beautiful plate of lettuce and tomatoes and everything else, but he looks like, what happened to mine?

And he said to the server, excuse me, but look at my salad. I mean, what what’s going on here? And this is what the server said. I’m not kidding you. The server said, “I don’t make them. I just serve them”. Really! And I thought he had to be joking until he walked away and no, he wasn’t joking. So my buddy looks at me, he says, so I assume you’re going to write an article about this?

I go, how can I not write an article about this? So what happened was the exact opposite of what a server would do in this five-step process. A good server would say, first of all, a good server would have noticed it, not put it down to begin with, but let’s assume it went by that server.

They could have said, oh my gosh, I can see that. There’s your acknowledgement. I am so sorry. And now watch what happens in the next sentence, all three, the resolution, the ownership and the urgency takes place. Let me take it back right now, get you a new one, I’ll be back in just a moment or two .Boom.

So, the server never said, oh, I’m sorry, they must be having a bad day in the back, in the kitchen. No, the server took full ownership of the experience. That’s what everybody needs to do in any business. By the way, on the way out, I said something to the manager before dessert and on the way out. I said, I just want to go over with you a few of the opportunities you have with this gentleman to learn and get better.

And I said, you don’t know what I do for a living, and by the way, I’m not asking for anything at all. I just want to help you and let you know that this guy is hurting you. So here’s what happened. He- and I went on with the list, and he just was like, first of all, he was very appreciative, but he was shocked.

And I said, watch, observe, he’s doing it right now. You can see it happening in real time. And he, the gentleman said to me, would you come back tomorrow night? And let me make it up to you. I said, I would come back tomorrow night if number one, you promised me a better experience. And number two, you don’t give me anything for free.

You give me the experience that I deserve, create an over the top experience. That’s all you need to do. And he says, you will come back tomorrow night, as a matter of fact, we’re in a hotel and we’re at this conference. We do have a reservation for tomorrow night and he goes, well, let me take care of you.

I go, remember, I don’t want anything for free. So, he did insist on buying us our first round of drinks, but here’s the- if you’re going to get somebody, if you’re going to give something away, in some businesses that is appropriate. In the restaurant, I’m not going to give you something today, I’m going to give you something tomorrow.

So I feel really bad this happened, hopefully we made up for it, but you know what I want to do? I want you to come back and the next time I want to buy a round of drinks. The next timeI want to buy your first round of appetizers for you. It’s going to be on us. We’re going to blow you away. That’s what you want to do.

I remember on the wedding night, my wedding night, we stayed at the beautiful Ritz Carlton in St. Louis, Missouri, where I live. And it was really great, but they made some pretty big mistakes and you know what, and I didn’t complain at all, but when I went to check out, the manager was behind the counter and he had heard about the mistakes that happened.

To give you an idea of what’s a pretty big mistake. I brought my luggage for a honeymoon and we were leaving the next morning. I brought in an early, before the wedding. And I said, I know we’re not ready to check in, but here it is. Would you take it up to the room? And when we get there it’ll all be there and we got up there and it wasn’t there.

And they had lost the luggage. I mean, they couldn’t even find it. They may have put it in a different room. Actually, they put it where it was supposed to go when they didn’t know where it was supposed to go. And that was the lost and found. But that was like the last place that they look for lost luggage, you know?

So usually you find cell phone cords in the lost and found.

Mary Drumond: Not whole suitcases, right?

Shep Hyken: Exactly. But the manager was back there and the manager was really nice. He said, I understand we had some problems last night and I’m thinking, oh, great, free room, free room, free room. No, I didn’t get a free room. But what he did do is really cool.

He said, you know, you need to experience the Ritz Carlton the way it’s meant to be experienced. I want you to come back here on your one-year anniversary. And at that point, he says, I’m going to take care of the room that night. And you know what? It got us to come back. And isn’t that what you want? And if you’re going to give something away and you’re that kind of business where it’s sometimes necessary, think about getting them back next time and doing it next time.

In most cases, if you acknowledge apologize, fix it, own it, and act with urgency. In most cases, you’re going to fix it and restore the customer’s confidence. There is, and I talk about this in the book, I’ll Be Back, there’s a loyalty question that I believe is really important to always be asking yourself.

And by the way, I don’t believe loyalty is about a lifetime. It’s about the next time, every time. Which eventually can become a lifetime if you’re doing it so well that people say, I’m coming back next time I’m coming back next time. Right? So the next time question is, what am I doing right now to get that customer to come back the next time they are doing business with me, or they need whatever it is that I sell?

Now, it’s not just about a complaint or a problem. It could be any interaction you have. Are the way that you’re handling whatever’s in front of you, a normal interaction, the customer’s buying. I’m helping. Am I helping in such a way that they’re going to say, “wow, that was really good”? And now what happens is over time, and this is where it gets real important, we cover this in the book as well.

Over time, the customer depends on this experience. They can predict the experience. They expect the experience. And when they say things like, “They’re always so knowledgeable, they always get back to me quickly. They always take care of me, even when there’s a problem.” The word “always” followed by something positive is what we’re really after.

And that’s what drives repeat business and ultimately loyal.

Mary Drumond: Yeah. You know, interestingly, I have an example that will exemplify exactly what you just said. I was given the mission of finding a new supplier to make our Worthix t-shirts, which we all have, and we wear with a lot of pride, but we were struggling to find someone who could make good t-shirts, which doesn’t seem like a really tough thing to do.

So it was kind of baffling that we were having a hard time producing a shirt that we were proud of, that we felt really represented our brand. So ultimately I ended up at customink.com, really famous. And I was like, no, you know what? I’m going to, it’s a little bit more expensive, but I’m going to pay because I really think we just need to get it right.

I was really excited. I placed the order. Everything came through. It was a really, really smooth experience, so I was excited. When the shirts came in, they were not good. And I was so disappointed, especially because my boss was really looking forward to wearing them. And when he pulled up one of the shirts, he’s like, not even you can get it right, Mary?

I mean, you know, I understand if the intern is struggling, but if my Chief Marketing Officer can’t get a decent t-shirt, you know? So there was that feeling, that despair of the incompetence and the failure and the frustration of the time period that I was going to have to wait to fix the situation.

Well, I contacted Custom Ink’s customer service, and they were amazing Shep. They were amazing. I have never had such solid customer service from a B2B experience, let’s say. And they asked me for some pictures just to understand what was wrong. And when I sent the pictures, they said, well, since you were doing a trial run, what happened is that we printed a digital version, and that digital version truly was not good enough.

This is not our best work. Let us make it up to you. Let us send you more shirts that we’re going to do professional screening on, so you can see what we’re capable of. And they sent me these new shirts and they were so beautiful, so well-made, but all of that with the quality of the customer service and the fact that the person on the other line genuinely cared about my business and me bringing my business to them, that as soon as I got that fresh order, I placed a giant order of t-shirts with them. Immediately.

Shep Hyken: That’s the ideas, isn’t it?

Mary Drumond: Yeah. I mean, they did it right. They fixed it.

Shep Hyken: They did it right. And they wanted to show, obviously the product was bad and wrong and, and in that case, I love it.

B2B, folks out there listening to this, watching this show, B2B, the concepts are the same as B2C. As a matter of fact, most B2B customers compare their B2B vendors to the B2C experience they’ve had, which means that even a manufacturing company is being compared to Amazon.

True story , I had this client in the healthcare industry and they ordered a half million dollar piece of imaging equipment. And they had dedicated their, got this room set up and they’re building out this space and the piece of equipment showed up, I don’t know, a week or two early, but before the room was ready.

And the CEO said, “Geez, I can’t believe it. I mean, you think they would have let us know it was on its way so we could have prepared for it? Even Amazon, when I ordered toilet paper, they send me an email to tell me toilet paper is being shipped.” And I thought, wow, this guy just compared a half a million dollar piece of x-ray equipment to toilet paper being delivered by Amazon.

So this is the point. Everybody listening, customer service and experience is more important than ever. Customers are smarter than ever. They know what great service is. They’ve experienced it from rockstar brands and regardless whether you’re B2C, B2B or even in the government, you need to start delivering an experience that is meeting their expectations.

Granted, we are not all going to be the Amazons, the Ritz Carltons the Nordstroms of the world, but we can deliver an experience. As a matter of fact, back to the book, I’d love to share something out of the book that to me is probably the biggest takeaway.

And if this gets you excited, well, then the book is for you and if not, hey, sorry. But again, the book’s I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again and Again, and then chapter 15, the final chapter, we go through a six step process. And briefly it is number one, ask yourself, why would someone do business with me? And be very clear about what your differences are.

Don’t say, I’ve got great people, great service, because everybody says that. And even if it’s not true, they at least believe it. So you can’t say it. Make sure that what you’re doing is tangible. Now you might say, oh no, we really do have great service. Back to healthcare, our numbers, they have, some ratings, Press Ganey, ratings, or whatever there’s, a couple of different organizations, are truly 30% higher than everyone else’s.

Well, then you can say that if you want, all right. But look for the differentiation. Number two, why would someone go and do business with a competitor and instead of you? And write down those reasons., Number three, keep pace. If the reasons in number two are taking business away from you, could you incorporate them into what you do?

Now, do not copy them if you can avoid that, because then all you are is a duplicate, a commodity and there’s nothing really to differentiate you. You want to make it your own. So find an idea that somebody else, a competitor might be using and twist it and make it your own. Quick example, somebody, one day in a hotel business said, let’s give our customers newspapers.

And they said, Hey, come on down, get a free newspaper. And the hotel across the street saw this and said, we should do that too, but let’s make it better. We’ll put it at their doorstep so when they open- you see that’s the example. Number four, look at all the businesses you love doing business with. It could be B2B, B2C, doesn’t matter.

It could be Amazon, it could be a restaurant, it could be a manufacturer. Why do you love doing business with them? Write down all the reasons. And are any of those reasons different than the reasons you gave as to why people love doing business with you or even a competitor? Now what’s really cool is you take those different reasons, and step five is to start to implement those reasons, because now you’re not just best in your industry, you’re becoming best in class.

Finally, number six, go back after you’ve done this process of the first five steps and say, now that I’ve gone through this, why would somebody do business with me? So you’re going back to question number one, just it’s now at the end, and you will see there’s differences.

They’ll start to separate you from your competition and it’ll drive the I’ll Be Back experience.

Mary Drumond: So if you want your customers to come back again and again, buy Shep’s book. That feels like a solution. Shep, thank you for coming on and sharing your wisdom. I always have a great time speaking to you because your knowledge comes from real life.

And it makes it so much more tangible. It makes it interesting. There are stories that are such a clear example of the message that you preached. So thank you so much.

Shep Hyken: Well, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. I know we’ve done it once before. Hopefully we’ll do it again. So I’ll be back.

Mary Drumond: Perfect. Well, before we leave, where can we get your book?

Shep Hyken: Oh, just go to Amazon, amazon.com. If you want to go to my website, I’llBeBackBook.com. There’s some extras there, and by the way, when you buy the book, it’ll point you back to the website because you want to download a workbook that you can share with your team and go through some of the exercises.

At the end of every chapter, there’s discussion topics. So you can have everybody read a chapter and then have a great meeting around those topics. And there’s some video on there that you might want to share with the team. So there’s extras that we’ve put on the website, but the book will point you there as well.

Mary Drumond: Wonderful. So go on to Amazon as soon as they ship out your book. I’m sure they’ll send you an email notification. It’ll be great.

Shep Hyken: It’ll be great. It will be. Exactly.

Mary Drumond: Thanks Shep!

Shep Hyken: Thanks for having me.

Mary Drumond: That’s our show. Thanks for joining. We hope we’ve brought you one step closer to leading through empathy. It’s our way of making the world a better place. One business at a time. Don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell if you want to know, as soon as we publish a new episode. Voices of CX is brought to you by Worthix.

I’m Mary Drumond. This podcast is hosted and produced by me, edited and co-produced by Steve Berry. See you next week!

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Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at Worthix, the world's first cognitive dialogue technology, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.



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