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Latest "App" Posts

Customer Relationships

How much do you love the companies you do business with, the restaurants you frequent, or the stores you shop at? How upset would you be if they told you they were going out of business? What if you could save them by giving up something? So, the question becomes, “What would you be willing to give up to continue doing business with them?”

Before I go any further, I might be treading on dangerous ground with the word sex in the title of this article. I always keep my comments squeaky clean, and I hope that no one is offended by the word sex. We’ve become hyper-sensitive about words and I don’t want to upset anyone, especially our friends in HR, but we’re all adults and my reference to the word is, at most, PG-rated.

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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. Continue reading

In the past, I’ve 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 doesn’t sell tires. If you don’t know the entire story, you can simply Google “Nordstrom Tire Story” and you’ll find plenty of information confirming the validity of the story. Continue reading

As most of you (hopefully) know, my latest book, The Convenience Revolution, is all about making the customer experience as frictionless as possible. In the book, there are six Convenience Principles with plenty of examples, and many of our followers have read my articles and watched my videos on these powerful concepts. The other day I was interviewed and asked, “How does one get started?” Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.

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There is a lot we can learn from great companies, big and small. Many books have been written about companies like Disney, Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton and Apple. And, once we learn how they do it, the key is making it work for our companies. It’s not about just learning, but also about executing what we learned. Continue reading

The Pasta House Company is a local chain of Italian restaurants that have been around since 1974, since I was just a kid. On Monday nights they had – and still do have – an “All You Can Eat” special. I loved that. All the salad, pasta and garlic bread you could eat for one low price. When I was a teenager, my buddies and I would all meet at the Pasta House on Monday nights to take advantage of the special. I say “take advantage” because we would starve ourselves all day, waiting to unleash our hunger on the delicious spaghetti and ravioli the Pasta House served. We did this every week, and every week the manager and servers were happy to see us. Continue reading

Less than one week before the release of my new book, The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience That Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty, so I thought it appropriate to share some thoughts on how being easy – or convenient – can give you a competitive advantage over your competition.

When your customers can buy what you sell from others, that’s called competition. That also makes it a commodity. If they’re selling the same thing, why should I buy from one company over another? Is it the quality of the product? Is it the price? Is it the customer service?  Continue reading

The other day I was at my hotel waiting for my client to pick me up for a meeting. I wanted a quick breakfast, so I went to the hotel’s coffee shop to pick up some oatmeal. They had instant oatmeal in a cup. The cashier added the hot water and $4.00 later I was on my way. I sat down at an open seat in the hotel lobby and noticed that my oatmeal looked more like soup that oatmeal. Usually, you just wait a few minutes and the oatmeal thickens up, but that was not the case. So, I walked over to the coffee shop to see if they had any suggestions. Her response: “People always complain about that.” Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

When you treat employees like rock stars, they will treat your customers like rock stars. That is what employee engagement is all about. Great leaders have preached that when you treat your employees well, they treat their customers – and fellow employees well. My friend and fellow customer experience expert, James Dodkins, has a great way of saying it:

If you want to put your customers first, you need to put your employees first, first.

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Someone once said that if you want to know if the company is treating their employees well, try the coffee.

The coffee? Really? Okay, I get it. One little detail can give you a glimpse into a much bigger picture. The idea is that the coffee machine and the quality of the coffee is an indication of how the employees are treated. Continue reading

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? Continue reading

Some people are just naturally good at providing great customer service. They are people pleasers. They pay attention to details. And, it seems to come naturally to them. So, are they born with it, or do they learn it? How do they recognize that this is what they are good at? Continue reading