How to Create Customer Loyalty with Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken’s mantra is “always be amazing.” Hyken leads his business with this thought in mind: customer service is not a department, it’s a philosophy to be embraced by every member of a company. On Thursday, Hyken offered GLO members insight into the keys to customer success.

Think for a moment about why you continue to return to your preferred grocery store. You most likely continue to return because it is convenient, the employees are kind and efficient, and it is geographically accessible. These aspects are key to how you run any business. Over the course of his career, Hyken has developed an ideology that centers around picking key elements to cater to the needs of the consumer. Hyken’s knowledge can help any business facilitate customer loyalty.

Success is Accessible

Hyken believes that everyone in an organization can be amazing. He acknowledges that this can be daunting, however “it is simply [about] being better than average.” Hyken has a model to measure your success in the realm of customer service. You want your customer to be able to say that you’re consistent and predictable. This is shown through their words- you want to be described as always helpful, or always on time. If your customer believes you’re consistent, they will continue to return.

“Be 10% better than the average, all the time”

Hyken asked the CEO of the Ritz Carlton how to be great in the service industry. The answer was, just be 10% better than the average all the time. Your next steps as a company do not have to be revolutionary, they just need to be able to make you stand out. Hyken stresses that this is within the grasp of every organization. Success is accessible for any entrepreneur and every company.

How can you retain customers?

In his latest book, Cult of the Customer, Hyken identifies the 5 phases customers go through in their shopping experience. Hyken explains that these phases are essential for business owners to recognize so they can cater to the customer’s needs. The phases are as follows:

  1. Uncertainty- the customer hopes that their experience will be great.
  2. Alignment- the customer begins to understand the brand’s value proposition.
  3. Experience- the customer continues to return and truly experiences the brand’s mission.
  4. Owned Experience- the customer knows their experience will be consistent.
  5. Amazement- the customer has an above-average experience.

Hyken notes that if the consumer goes back to the uncertainty stage after a customer service problem, they can easily return to amazement if they have a better experience to remedy the problem. The customer needs to believe that they can always depend on your service.

How Can Entrepreneurs Create a Convenient Experience for their Customers?

In order for entrepreneurs to reach their customers and create an experience that will continue to attract them to their business time and time again, they have to be intentional about catering towards a customer culture. This means you have to reduce friction for the customer and create a system that is uncomplicated for your consumers.

Hyken recommends looking at your competitors to see what they are doing that you currently are not. Look to the broader industry, too, and see what companies you enjoy being a customer with. What are those companies doing that you can do? Finally, take a look at the journey of the customer and see where you can make your interactions with the customer more convenient. These three elements are essential to enhancing the customer’s experience.

How to Improve the Customer Experience

Hyken has six steps to improving the customer experience throughout your company.

  1. Develop a customer service or experience statement
    • For example, Hyken’s is “always be amazing.”
  2. Communicate the statement.
    • Hyken wants your employees to see it, hear it, and live it.
  3. Train to the statement.
    • Hyken recommends setting aside 5-10 minutes each week to reinforce your mantra with your staff.
    • He emphasizes that you should reinforce this with all staff, not just those on the front lines. Those working in your factory who are packaging your products are included in the customer experience.
  4. The company leader has to be the role model.
    • Hyken believes in Walt Disney’s concept of “Stooping to Excellence.”
    • As a leader, you must show your employees the way in which you want your customers to be treated and act in the way in which you would like your employees to act.
    • Furthermore, you must treat your employees like you want your customers treated.
  5. Keep everyone in alignment.
    • Hyken implores you to defend your culture that you create
    • This will result in every customer having a consistent and predictable experience.
  6. When it’s working, you celebrate it.
    • A celebration can be merely a compliment, but it is worth taking the time to acknowledge and reinforce when you get it right.

With Hyken’s steps towards building an environment that customers feel comfortable in, entrepreneurs can effectively shape their companies to beat the competition. By tending to consistency and predictability, you can reduce friction and better retain your customers. To learn more about Shep Hyken’s advice, you can watch his full interview on GLO’s website.


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