Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

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Shep Hyken – customer service motivational speaker, author, trainer, and expert – knows how to be enthusiastic. In one of his Shepard Letters, his monthly newsletter, Shep sheds light on a little secret– enthusiasm is contagious.

Who would you rather be with at work? Someone who hates what they are doing, or someone who loves what they are doing?

The answer is obvious. People who love what they do seem to have charisma or enthusiasm about them. Their attitudes are contagious, and for obvious reasons, they are simply more enjoyable to be around.

Remember different teachers you might have had in high school or college? I remember teachers that lectured – or should I say read from notes or a manuscript – to their classes. They never even looked up at their students. I also remember teachers who spoke from their hearts. They encouraged questions and classroom participation. They weren’t necessarily funny, but somehow their classes were fun and exciting to be in.

What’s the difference between the two? Well, part of the answer is enthusiasm. One teacher is simply doing the job, just going through the motions. The other teacher is immersed in his or her job, involved with the students and creating a learning experience. The first teachers educate the students by lecturing. All information is going one way, from teacher to student. Either the student gets it or doesn’t. They try to take notes and listen, with every attempt not to fall asleep. The other teachers are encouraging two way learning. They interact and communicate with students.

Isn’t it almost the same in the working environment? Some people just work for their paycheck. Others work for their company and personal fulfillment.

Who Are You Working For?

This reminds me of a story that I first heard Zig Ziglar tell at one of his seminars. There were some employees of a major railroad company standing around the tracks. A large limousine pulls up to the workers and out steps a well dressed man, the president of the railroad company. The president walks up to one of the workers and says, “Hello Bob, how are you?” Bob says, “I’m doing great, Gene. Thanks for asking.”

When the president of the company walked away, the workers were impressed with Bob and asked him how he knew the president of the company on a first name basis. Bob told them that twenty years ago they started working together.

The workers asked Bob, “How come he’s president and you still work out here in the yard?”

Bob replied, “Twenty years ago when we started together, I went to work for the paycheck. Gene went to work for the railroad company.”

Gene obviously loved what he did and managed to work his way up to becoming president of the company. He didn’t get there by not caring or not having a passion for what he did. To get to the top where Gene started took a lot of hard work and enthusiasm in his job and his life.

Enthusiastic people tend to be more successful. And people like to be around enthusiastic people. If you can’t get excited about what you do and what you and your company sell, then you won’t get anyone around you excited either.

Where Is Your Passion?

It is also important to understand that enthusiasm doesn’t mean you have to be physically excited about what you do. A friend of mine is a speaker. Technically speaking, he is a terrible speaker. He stands behind the lectern and speaks to the audience in a dull and monotone voice. When he starts a program his audience members immediately look at their watches to see when the next break will be.

What makes him different from the teachers we talked about above is that he really does have enthusiasm; he is just not capable of physically showing it. After just a few minutes the audience starts to pick up on it, and within fifteen to twenty minutes they are sitting on the edge of their seats, soaking up his information.

Every once in a while there is a twinkle in his eye. You can tell he loves what he is talking about. He is just not a good speaker. And, that is okay. The audience accepts that, and picks up on his passion for the subject on which he is presenting. While not physically evident, he does have the enthusiasm that it takes to get others excited.

Enthusiasm is contagious. And, a fellow professional speaker, Danny Cox, says that if enthusiasm is contagious, and what you have is not enthusiasm, that is also contagious!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional  speaker and New York Times   bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

Shep Hyken – customer service motivational speaker, author, trainer, and expert – knows just how important every moment with the customer is. In one of his Shepard Letters, his monthly newsletter, Shep talks about each moment as a moment of truth, and how those moments can turn into moments of magic, or moments of misery.

It’s all about creating Moments of Magic! What is a Moment of Magic and where did it come from?

Moments of Truth

In 1986 Jan Carlzon, the former president of Scandinavian Airlines wrote a book, Moments of Truth. In his book, Carlzon defines the moment of truth in business like this:

“Anytime a customer comes into contact with any aspect of a business, however remote, is an opportunity to form an impression.”

From this simple concept, Jan Carlzon took an airline that was failing and turned it around to be one of the most respected airlines in the industry.

Some examples of moments of truth in Jan Carlzon’s airline business are:

–when you call to make a reservation to take a flight,
–when you arrive at the airport and check your bags curbside,
–when you go inside and pick up your ticket at the ticket counter,
–when you are greeted at the gate,
–when you are taken care of by the flight attendants onboard the aircraft,
–and when you are greeted at your destination.

All of these are main Moments of Truth, and notice that they are all controlled by people. There are many moments of truth that are not controlled by people, such as advertisements (radio, television, billboards, newspapers, etc.). The emphasis of this article is on the moments of truth that we, as people, have control over. These are the points of contact that our customers and clients have directly with us and our organization.

Mentioned above are a number of the main moments of truth, not just at Jan Carlzon’s airline, but in virtually all commercial airlines. These are the main ones. And while these may be the most important, there are lots of small ones as well. For example, you might be walking toward your gate at the airport and walk by a couple Scandinavian employees. They look up and smile at you. Now that may be a small moment of truth, but it is an important one. It adds to the total experience of the customer.

Disney has taken the small moments of truth to an even higher level. They understand the importance that these small moments of truth have on their customers. They train their cast members (Disney’s term for employees) to acknowledge the guest (Disney’s term for a customer) with a smile or facial expression if within ten feet. If the cast member gets within five feet of the guest, they are to acknowledge them verbally. All of the little Moments of Truth, combined with the major ones, with the addition of the product or service your organization is selling, add up to the overall level of a customer’s satisfaction.

Moments of Magic!…and Misery

Jan Carlzon said there are good Moments of Truth and bad Moments of Truth. I believe there is a third type – average Moments of Truth. Average is middle-of-the-road – simply acceptable, but not great. I have a term for the good and bad ones. The bad ones are referred to as Moments of Misery, and the good ones are referred to as Moments of Magic.

Our goal should be to create all great Moments of Magic, even if they start out to be moments of misery. Sometimes a customer may have a legitimate complaint. We not only need to fix problems and complaints, but we also need to give customers a reason to want to come back and continue to do business with us again and again. Even if we fix a problem, it doesn’t mean the customer is coming back. For example, if you own a restaurant and one of your guest’s meals is overcooked, don’t simply fix it or take it off of the bill. Consider giving the guest a business card with a note that gives him or her a round of drinks or a free appetizer the next time they come back.

At times these Moments of Misery may not even be our fault. The customer may just be having a terrible day. For example, a customer may be checking into a hotel. This person may have had three flights delayed and he or she is in a very bad mood. It is not the hotel’s fault the customer is unhappy due to the airline’s delayed flights. But, it is the person who is checking in this irate customer who has the opportunity to start to turn the customer’s mood around. It is an opportunity to take someone else’s Moment of Misery and turn it into the hotel’s Moment of Magic.

So, manage your Moments of Truth. Seize every one of them, even if they are moments of misery, as opportunities to show how good you and your organization are. This will go a long way in building long-term customer loyalty and total customer satisfaction.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

Shep Hyken – customer service motivational speaker, author, trainer, and expert – has come up with ten guidelines to follow while talking on the phone, as featured in one of his Shepard Letters, his monthly newsletter.

This article is not just for the front line people who deal directly with customers. All of this information is applicable to everyone, from a receptionist to a warehouse manager to a CEO. Having good telephone skills helps build stronger relationships with everyone! Whether the call is incoming or outbound, the following can be applied to virtually every call.

So, let’s get back to basics. Phone skills are an important part of the job. The way you handle your phone is as important as a face-to-face meeting. So take the time to go over some of these basics. Here is my “top ten” phone skills list.

1. Let’s start with enthusiasm.
Try to convey some type of enthusiasm. From beginning to end, show that you care about the person you are talking to. You don’t need to act overly excited about your phone conversation. Just have a positive attitude. It is contagious.

2. Be sure to smile.
Even though you are on the phone, the other person can sense a smile from you. Some telephone experts recommend putting a mirror on your desk to remind you when you are not smiling at the customer. For people who are on the phone all day, a mirror may not be a bad idea.

3. How do you sound on the phone?
Using the right tone of voice createsan atmosphere on the phone. This ties into the first two on this list. Is your enthusiasm coming through? Do you have a positive attitude? Is your phone conversation strictly business? Is it lighter or personal? Your tone and voice inflections will create an impression and help the person on the other end understand what you are telling them.

4. Say “Hello!” (or good morning, good afternoon, etc.)
Have a warm greeting or opening. Welcome people into the conversation. Don’t make them feel as if they are an interruption. If you are too busy, then let someone else or your voice mail pick up the phone. That is a lot better than a greeting that sounds like, “Yah, what do you want!”

5. Say “Goodbye.”

Have a strong closing. At the minimum, be sure to say goodbye before hanging up the phone. How many times have you expected someone to say goodbye, have a nice day, etc. only to hear a click? Don’t do that to your customer!

6. When talking to a customer, avoid company or technical terminology that they may not understand.
Everybody has had this happen at one time or another. Someone tries to tell you something and you have absolutely no idea what he is talking about. It sounds like it could be English, and it is. But, you still don’t understand it because it is technical jargon. Technical terms or industry buzz-words can put a customer in an uncomfortable position. They might feel dumb because they don’t understand you. Or, they may feel frustrated and become impatient.

7. Don’t get angry, even if the customer is.
It is not always easy to keep calm, especially if the customer is angry about something you have no control over. (Chances are they are mad at something that has already happened.) If a customer is complaining and angry, let them vent. Most likely they aren’t mad at you personally. Ask them questions to show that you care. Don’t add to their aggravation. You might ask them to repeat the problem just to make sure you understand. Be a good listener.

8. When transferring – ONLY ONCE!
If you are transferring to someone else, make sure that person is available. Don’t put the customer on the hold, transfer, hold, transfer, hold, transfer, routine. (I hate when that happens!)

9. Control the “hold” button on your phone.
A survey in USA Today conducted by Nancy Friedman (a.k.a. The Telephone Doctor) showed that customers hate, more than anything else relating to the phone, to be put on HOLD! There are really only two reasons to put someone on hold: to transfer to someone else or to get information.

10. More on controlling that “hold” button.
If you are going to make a customer wait on hold, for any reason, let them know how long they will have to wait. When you say a minute and it really is just a minute, it will probably seem a lot longer to them. So, if you are asking them to hold for an extended period of time, it is probably best to call them back. Promise to call at a specific time. Then, keep your promise!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional  speaker and New York Times   bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)