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
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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.
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Sam Stern, a principal analyst at Forrester Research for 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. Continue reading
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
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.” 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.
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
I can’t make this “stuff” up. It really happened! The other night I was at a very nice – and very expensive – steakhouse restaurant. This place was top rated for their steaks and seafood. We all ordered a salad. As the server was setting down the salads, we noticed that one of the salads had a tiny portion of salad compared to the others. It was less than half the amount. The salad didn’t even cover the entire plate. So, my friend spoke up and mentioned it to the server, who replied, “I don’t make them. I just serve them.” And, then he walked away. Continue reading
Customer service and customer experience (CX) have become as hot of topics as any in business. Owners of small businesses and leaders of the largest companies recognize the importance of CX. It’s what drives our business. It’s become a customer expectation. Don’t deliver on the CX and the customer will find someone – or some company – that does. And, not only do you have to deliver on the experience, you have to stand out and be different. Continue reading
There is an old saying: It is better to give than to receive. The interpretation of this is that giving is an act of kindness. There is another old saying: The more you give, the more you get. So, is the act of giving truly an act of kindness, even if you know you’ll receive something back, and even if you don’t know exactly what it is? I think so, especially if the act of giving has no strings attached – even if giving more means you get more, then it truly is an act of kindness. Continue reading
I just stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Lansing, Michigan. I’ve stayed at many Crowne Plazas in the past, and they are nice hotels, however, the experience at this one was quite unique. It was a personalized experience, and the way they went about it is an excellent lesson we all can learn from. Continue reading
Technology is great… until it’s not. You are on a website. A little box pops up and there’s a picture of a customer service rep with a typed message asking if you need help. So, you type a question, and just a moment later you get a response. That’s the perfect scenario. But, what happens when the response is wrong? I was on a website looking for a camera for my notebook computer. The chat box popped up, asking if I needed help. I typed in a question about the camera and the response was about what computer I was interested in purchasing. I had no interest in buying a computer. The digital experience had gone awry. Continue reading
There is an old saying in the real-estate industry: The three keys to success are location, location and location. I have a similar take on the customer service and customer service world. The three keys to customer experience success are consistency, consistency and consistency. Continue reading
What does a good customer experience look like at your company? What does good customer service look like? Ask everyone on your team and listen to the answers. Will they be the same, or different? It will be interesting to see if your team recognizes the difference between experience and service. Continue reading
In 1945 George Orwell published the literary classic, Animal Farm, which was required reading in my middle-school English class. I always remembered the line: All animals are created equal, just some animals are more equal than others. Someone recently referenced the book and this famous line, and it made me think about how customers are treated. Continue reading