Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Posts tagged "leadership"

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. Continue reading

Creating A Customer Experience Initiative

Owning Your Customer Service Initiative From the Top Down

Shep Hyken sits down with Christa Heibel to discuss the role the c-suite level plays in creating a CX strategy, how to keep track of your omnichannel presence, and how to measure and improve your customer experience strategy.

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Donn Sorensen Shares Leadership Principles That
Drive a Customer-Focused Culture

Shep Hyken discusses how to create and maintain a customer-focused culture with Donn Sorensen, speaker, philanthropist, and Regional President of Mercy, a large healthcare organization based in St. Louis, MO. Donn shares his leadership principles and how they help to drive customer service and experience. He also shares tips from his new book, “Big Hearted Leadership: Five Keys to Create Success Through Compassion.” You can’t miss this episode on how to reshape your culture through leadership!

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Josh LinknerSeptember 29, 2015: Josh Linkner on How to Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Reinvention

Shep Hyken interviews Josh Linkner, jazz guitarist, entrepreneur, New York Times Bestselling author and proud, multi-generational Detroiter. In addition, Josh is one of the foremost experts on creativity and innovation and talks about how individuals and companies should continuously seek ways to reinvent themselves. Tune in to hear Josh share ways to improve the customer experience and his new, AMAZING business that is shaking up the leadership event category. Continue reading

Customer-Service-is-Contagious-285x300I was boarding a very early morning flight to Dallas.  One of the pilots of the plane, Gerald Higginbotham, was greeting every single person who walked on the plane.  He was so outgoing and engaging.  He welcomed everyone and built rapport with many of the passengers.

He would ask, “Where are you going?”  If they said anywhere other than Dallas, he would say, “Well we’re flying to Dallas, and as long as that is on your way, you’re on the right plane.”  Then he would laugh.

He had lots of little sayings that put smiles on everyone’s faces.  I was sitting in my seat and admiring this amazing display of enthusiastic interaction.  I’ve seen pilots engage with passengers before, but not at this level.

Then came the bad news.  Our flight was going to be delayed by at least a half hour due to weather.  That didn’t scare too many people.  But, a few minutes later we found out it would be at least an hour.  Typically when this kind of news is announced many of the passengers start to get restless.  They want to leave the plane, see a gate agent, call reservations or do just about anything, to feel like they are proactively doing something to avoid missing connections or being late to their destination.  I’m one of those passengers.

But, that day was different.  I was in a different mood and so were many of the passengers.  And it was all because of our pilot, Gerald Higginbotham.  His mood was contagious.  And that is what brings me to the point.

You may have heard the old expression: Enthusiasm is contagious.  Well here’s a new one: Customer service is contagious.  Actually it might be better to say that…

Friendly customer service is contagious.

There is no doubt that Gerald put us into a better mood.  His mood made accepting the bad news easier.  It wasn’t the airlines fault that there was bad weather.  And, by the way, there are many passengers that seem to think it’s the airlines fault when there is a delay due to weather.  But, I digress.  It just seemed that the outward friendliness of our pilot made everyone a little happier, more accepting and more tolerant.

And, guess what else?  The other captain and all of the flight attendants were in a better mood too, and as a result, they delivered an even higher level of customer service.

Here’s the lesson:  A friendly, outgoing, customer focused employee can raise the bar for everyone.  Gerald set a great example for the rest of the employees to follow, and they did.  In a sense, Gerald created the plane’s “culture.” Just like any other company might have a customer focused culture, it starts with leadership.

And, here is a reminder about leadership.  My friend and colleague Mark Sanborn says that you don’t need a title to be a leader.  And when it comes to customer service, anyone can step up and be a leader and role model. So, step up.  Set an example.  Others will follow.  It’s 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 ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)

Following up on a past Shepard Letter, Theresa Everest’s response to the missing part of employee loyalty was: Great Leadership.  Along with her answer and comments, she sent the following about leadership and “bossism.”

Theresa writes, “I am not sure who originally wrote the following, but have held it with me for the past five years since receiving it.”

The Difference Between a Boss and a Leader

A boss creates fear; a leader creates confidence.
Bossism creates resentment; leadership breeds enthusiasm.
A boss fixes blame; a leader fixes mistakes.
A boss knows how; a leader shows how.
Bossism makes work drudgery; leadership makes work interesting.
A boss relies on authority; a leader relies on cooperation.
A boss drives; a leader leads.

How true!  People don’t just work for a company.  They work for the people in the company.  It is the leadership that creates the culture and manages the vision of their organization.

Are you in management?  If you are, don’t be a boss.  Be a leader!

(I’m reaching out to our readers.  If you know who wrote the above “quote/poem” came, please let me know so I can properly credit the source.  It might be Russell Ewing or William Glasser.)

On Marketing
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing by Susan Friedman is out this month. This new book is part of the well-known and respected “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series. It is packed with clever and practical strategies to help any type of business get their message to the right people. Go to ( to buy it today.

On Sales and Relationships
The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients For Life by Maribeth Kuzmeski is about… Just read the subtitle! Maribeth interviewed hundreds of successful businesspeople, CEO’s, etc. The book is filled with valuable ideas and strategies to create better business relationships. Go to to buy your copy.

On Leadership
Uncommon Sense: One CEO’s Tale of Getting in Sync by Andy Kanefield and Mark Powers is a quick read that will give you a unique perspective on getting your organization aligned. It is the fictional story of Jack, CEO of Horizon bank, and walks you through the critical aspects you need to be in sync for maximum effectiveness. If you have read my book, “The Cult of the Customer,” you know the importance of getting your organization in alignment. Learn more at

Another One On Leadership
On My Honor, I Will, by Randy Pennington has a new edition that is coming out this week. Our mutual success is in question unless leaders at every level of every organization, community, and family get the integrity question correct. Randy shows why integrity is crucial to every leader’s success and how anyone who aspires to a position of leadership can accomplish that goal. Buy it at

On Customer Service (GET THIS ONE!)
Can’t miss the opportunity to plug my book, The Cult of the Customer. It just came out six months ago and immediately hit the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-seller lists. If you are reading this blog, you probably already know about it, but just in case, find out more at

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)