Humanizing the Customer Experience: Recipes for Customer Success (Part 1) w/ Shep Hyken


What is customer experience?

Is it a specific team within your company? Is it the contact center employees fielding calls from angry and disappointed customers?

The truth is, a lot of us don't’ really realize what customer experience is until we’ve had an outstanding experience. One that absolutely blew our socks off.  

It’s the reason that people make YouTube videos of themselves unboxing iPhones and iPads. Because Apple understands that every part of the product is tied to the customer experience.  


In part 1 of this 2 part episode, we sit down with author, keynote speaker and customer service expert Shep Hyken to talk all about:   

  • Best practices around customer service and customer experience 
  • Why he thinks that customer experience isn’t a department, but a philosophy 
  • The “Apple Experience,” and how even something as simple as packaging can enhance customer experience 
  • Why happier employees mean a more successful company 

Some people at the end of the day oflistening to people many times it's handling complaint complain, complain,complain, they're, wiped out. At the end of the day, they't go home, they'llkick their dog theyl yell at their kids. You know, but there's other people thatthrive on this challenge. Welcome to the conversations thatmatter, podcast from uniform the podcast that dies into realconversations that are happening in contact centers around the world. Peurial experience, exciding interviewswith well known, Botleaders, R, compelling stories from industry,actferds gain fresh insects on context and our best practices in more to graba gaverage and tune in because we get real with conversations that matter. Welcome everyone to the conversationsthat matter: Podcast, I'm a host Rany Gasar and I am delighed to welcome ShepHican to the podcast today. SHEP. Welcome, hey thanks for having me here,excited to Bein a conversation that matters. It is the reason why we pick.That is that I think that that we want to make sure that these are valuableconversations for the contect center operation, leaders that are out thereand that they find you know this. So many different things are going on intheir world and we want to make sure that this time they spend listening tothis or watching it is something that's valuable to them. So you know we wantedt to start off in sead of reading off your bio. We want to do some rapid fireto kind of get to know you an a more personal level once they say, okay. Sothe first question that we have is what was your first job first job? I waseight or nine years old worke for my grandpa at his pharmacy, and I dideverything from Inventori the greeting cards to paint the shelves to countfillbottles and and much more. It was my summer job and I love working with myGRANDPA. That's awesome, but a great memory, and then we know that you usually are on the speaking circuitspeaking to around customer experience, because Oer Service, a d lots ofdifferent topics around than sometimes around. That tell me about the firsttime that you spoke in front of a large audience, because I know for me.Sometimes I could be a little daunting for Os ar listening. You know.Sometimes they say that's the worst fear that people have even morethan spiders or or snakes or going to the dentist acttoly yeah I can allway go. I coan go back toyou, know in high school and actually in like seventh grade or sixth grade, Idid magic shows. So I was in front of an audience. I did public speakingcourses, but the first paid gigs besides magic shows, I would say, onethousand nine hundred and eighty three, where I still had hair I booked myfirst speaking engagement and so the first client to ever sign a contractwith me was an Heyserbush. The second client was enterprise Renacar, whichproves that drinking and driving can mix at a certain level. I Li butseriously the enterprise engagement came just before the anheiser Bushengagement, although the contract with aniser Bush was signed first, so wealways argue WHO's. The first client, but both of those were really. Theywere my first audiences to pay me to speak in front of you know their peopleso and it just got better from there. I guess ot better from there. I guessyeah and you alwoys hear o like Comedians and how they kind of gothrough thirty or forty different times, where they bumbed, sometimes yearsyears, yeah. Well, I had an advantage. I'm sure that when I was younger andwas doing my magic shows, I had shows that didn't do as well as they couldhave an age twelve. I started a birthday party business age. Fourteenworked in my first night club age. Sixteen I was doing comedy magic at thePlayboy Club, which was like the best job in the whole freaking world, andthen I worked in night club through college, and you know I also started todo some corporate events, so I was pretty comfortable getting in front ofan audience. I learned and I know I'm getting way off the track, but this isto me this is important. Yeah and I know when we ware talking before youmentioned, you were in toastmasters...

...yeah. I learned the very quickly, theand and I've actually added a third peace to it that there 's two thingsthat had to happen. I had to be prepared, or else I was going to if Ididn't bomb I would have felt I bomb because there ere it's not that I everwalked on the stage unprepared, but I know I've walked on to a stage where Ididn't quite understand my audience as well as I it's not even with that Icould have. I don't just don't think the client and I were connecting at alevel that made me feel comfortable. So I've learned I'm never going to ever.Do that again. So I need to know my audience. I need to know my content.That's all on me. Of course. I practiced in practice and number three.I added, as I learned. If I stay up late, I'm not going to be great thenext day. So I need to know myself. I need to know to get into bed by ten.That's a in bed by ten standard rule, every engagement you know, and if I canmake that happen occasionally an airplane delay will cause that to goout of whack but yeah. You might need to do a Redeye or something get there,a seven, the moon right right, but but and and usually that's not my fault,but that doesn't mean I still can't okay, I need to sleep right now on theplane. But the point is no. Your content know your audience and knowyourself, and that makes a more successful and comfort speech, becauseif I walk on with those three things accomplished, I'm not going to bomb I'mgoing to at least know that I've done my best effort to make this work and,as a professional speaker, my clients will often tell me Oll we're going tohave so and so do the speech so whos that he's one of her customers. I saidso. Let me tell you about using a customer okay which, by the way, usethe customer. That's fine. The custer is not a professional speaker. A trueprofessional speaker doesn't always hit a home run, but always in baseballterms will get on base. That's what we do. That's, why we're pros other peoplewho aren't you're taking a chance? It's not that they won't do a great job orthey won't have great content, but they may be off that they th y. You know wedo things differently as pros. It's that simple. You know yeahtoly yeah, sonice question last customer complaint that turned into a good customerexperience for me. Yes, Fram, Oh wow, oultsile you what happened right at thebeginning of Covid nineteen pandemic stay at home. I called my home cableprovider and I was disappointed with how slow things were. I was justfrustrated this person on the phone not only looked at my speed and realized.What was wrong so we fixed that. But then she also looked at my account andsaid you know. I think we can save you money if you' like me to take a closerlook at this. She saved me, like I mean thirty five forty dollars a month,Multipli that times twelve. So that hour I spent in the phone was worthalmost five hundred dollars. Yea. That's that's not a bad wage! Fivehundred dollars an hour! You do that for the most of your life yeah, that'sawesome! I mean you can't beat that when someone is kind of proactive rightI mean I love it. I love it. I won't tell you the name, but their initialswere ATNT, yeah, okay, good to know all right, and we asked us a lot of ourguess. If you had one celebrity voice that powered your contact centerwhoould it be Oh wow, you're gonna laugh, there's so many how about ArnoldSchwarzenegger. That would be awesome because at the end, when the customer,when the customer says I'll, be back, that's what we're looking for yeah getto the CHAPA. Now. That would be awesome all right. Wellnow that we know kind of who you are professional, speaker, Newyork TimesBest Song author and I think what we' going to learn today from some of youranswers is the some best precters ar int customer experience around customerservice, and we talk about Ai and automation. How those kind of gotogether and help businesses? So, let's of get to the questions so just to kindof set the stage you know- and I think, depending on the business and IndustryOu, think customr experience is perhaps...

...a different definition. So I kind ofCuaros from your take. What is customer experience and why is it so importantsure so experience is everything the customer experiences with you and yourproduct. So I use that orid experience in the definition to describe thedefinition, but here's what it is people think well, what's differencebetween service and experience, customer service? Is it by the way, Idon't believe service or experience is a department. It's a philosophy. It'scultural! It's part of what the company wants to achieve. So service is everyinteraction point the customer has typically with people, although there'ssome automated processes and ai that could be involved in a chat Bot orwhatever, but it's mostly the interaction the customer has with thecompany that is getting them part of the sale part of the follow up. Maybeeven part of this support service. Okay experiences everything that includes itcould be initially when I go on your website. What's my feeling, is itintuitive when I order something and the box shows up and I open up the box,no there's a big difference between opening up a brown cardboard box in abox that sent to you by apple okay, I mean just the experience of openingyour ipator iphone box, the first time it's like wow. This is incredible. Ijust received, and I know I see the keyboard in your background. Last weekI got a keyboard new keyboard. It's Nice, beautiful, rolling, keybear comestit, a big brown box at says. Please do that open on this end, I thought thatwas pretty. It said, please, okay, pleaselookerecaus IAS getting right open. On that I open I cn. Let me tell you whatI saw. I saw my black big black keyboard with the white keys. You knowsharps and flats and all that- and it was wrapped in clear plastic with twopieces of Sthyrophale. If apple were sending me that I would have opened itup, there would have been a ribbon that I would have pulled out that would havepulled off the top part that it would have been beautifully. BACKIN EA by theway, an expensive ipad cost the same or an expensive ipone cost the same asthis w actually was less than the expensive keyboard that I got. So. Whynot give me the same experience by the way it's like that experience was justokay versus one. That's better than okay, and just okay is sometimes goodenough, but in my world I believe that just okay is mediocre. mediacrity isaverage satisfactory, just okay, a little tiny bit better than that. Justa little bit better is the moment of magic and if we can create theseconsistent, predictable little moments of magic. So maybe the word please mademe smile, so maybe that'to the next level for me, but think about thedifference between the the apple experience and the average experience,and maybe there's somewhere in between or maybe, if average is it on a scaleof one to five of averages. Three and and that's average packaging, and thenyou've got packaging of an apple iphone or something like that. If all you dois, do a three point: five or something you know: Youyou're, Bove average. Youknow I used to work at a Yahoo Way back intha day and we always used to focus on how we would surprise and delight thecustomers that's hard to do. It is in every time it's hard to do and theymake you feel like you got to do it every time, don't they. So this is thefirstol impression for all of our context. Center managers, supervisors,executives leaders, etct Thatre, paying attention to our show today. If you expect everybody to surprise anddelight probably not going to happen, you're going to be very disappointed,but if you expect everybody to do a tiny bit better than average and let'sdefine what that is scale, a one to five three is average. I mentionedwhatever how about ten percent better than average. Three point: Three:that's pretty reasonable. If you are...

...consistently a three point three andyou deliverd that level and you don't drop to a three. Your just a tiny itbetter than that. Your customers often will give you a five on a scale of oneto five, because this is what they say: they're, always so knowledgeablethey're, always so friendly. They always respond quickly. The word alwaysfollowed by something positive and I've been talking about being better thanaverage just a little bit consistently. Predictably, for years last year Italked to Horse Shalz who's, the CO founder and first president of the richCarlton Organization, woe brand and he said the same thing. I just want mypeople to be a little better than average. All of the time. That's what'sgoing to make us an amazing, iconic, memorable brand, and I said how muchbetter than average- and he said exactly what I've been preaching and itwas like wow, a validation from one of my, I guess customer service Ikons. Ifyou will yeah and- and he said just be ten percent better than average well, Isaid so three point three on a scale o Huno five. He says yeah yeah, but ifyou think about it, so when I answer that call, if I'm talking and engagingwith a customer- and the first thing out of my mouth is hello, what's youraccount number that's at best average Ri say hello, my name's Shep and yourname is say: Randy Brandy, yeah that changes. Sorry, I s just sure. If you well Hirandy, isit okay? If I call you randy yeah, of course, great hey, I need to get youraccount number before I get started. Do you have that handy? I do yes, greatgreat see. Do you see the difference it takes now? It takes an extra six orseven seconds to do that, but it sets the tone on a much better friendlierbasis, yeah totally different ton yeah to the Greenyeh. Now this is what Ilove. People call with one or two issues: they don't call customerservices say everything's working great. Do they they're calling the customersupport or theyr chatting, because they either need information. They have aquestion or they have a complaint. Okay, so the complaint means they come at youand that's now. That's a whole another type of conversation we can have, butwe've now started the right tone for any one of these three. If it'ssomething other than a question or getting information which we're happyto help them with and the way we do it, it's pleasant and they'll get off thephone and go wow. That was a really nice experience. Okay, but if there's aproblem, the goal is to move this to the next level and oftentimes. You cantell this person's not happy, so I always like to let them vent for amoment and then I'll say you know what I can tell by the tone of your voicethat you're not happy right now that you've got a problem. So here's what Iwant to do number one. The reason you called here today is that you hope thatsomeone like me can help you out is that right. Well, of course, is they'regoing to say. Yes, I've now got an agreement out of them psychologically,that's a really important piece ofpit and the next part is I'm here to help.You know that's right, I'm here to help you, so you confirm their right, andnow you say so, let's start over from the beginning, I want to make sure Icompletely understand I may take some notes. I may stop you and ask somethingto clarify: would that be okay? Yes, I now got another confirmation that we'rein sink and now we move on so anyway. I know I'm digressing off of what yourquestion was, but hopefully this is helpful for the people who arelistening, no super helpful and it talks about kind of the internal mantraof a company talks about you know the culture, the people, I think that'sreally important and hey also talked about how how the tone of theconversation can change right. So one of my coworkers Annie was wasasking. I asked some cokers, you know yo any questions for Shappin, so shewrote in and she said, we've written many books and most recently wrote thecult of t e of the customer you. So your message was really powerful inthat and, of course timely. So the one thing that she mentioned was thehappier customers. Employees are the more successful company will be rightand we talked a little bit about that in terms of the tone yeah and it's notjust happy customers us. It's happy...

...employees heven points. Yes right,that's real important because what happens on the inside of anorganization is felt on the outside and by the way different support. Centersare going to have different metrics average call handle time, maybe reallyreally important to them. One call resolution may be really reallyimportant to them. Ther NPS score may be important, so you know, agents maybe given a little bit more leway to manage the experience differently thansomeod. That's looking at just average call time getting a questionunderstanding what question the customer hasn't asked that they shouldhave asked, but you say you ask, for them is also an important piece of it,because you know what that eliminate. It elemates, the next call. So I dealtwith a client that was actually prepping his company for sales. So thelast thing that they wanted was any extra time spent on the call, and hesaid to me, if you're going to talk to me about how we got to spend more timewith the customer on the phone. You are not the guy. For me, I said: Lookpeople want to do business with people, they know like and trust right. That'sold! That's GN AROUND FOR YEARS! So here's what I want you to think about.I want your customers to know that when they call somebody they're going to getsomebody WHO's knowledgeable number two they're going to like the answer,because it's the right answer for no other reason its thright answer. Thetrust comes when they know that happens every time. So here's the point they'regoing to call back again and again, if you don't get proactive and answer,questions that they're going to ask next time, two weeks from now exacttact yeah, but recognizing that, if that's the way you want to do it I'llpush that message, but I am going to push all of the bifferies that goaround delivering that type of concept. Yeah. That's true! Isnow for a shortbreak: Let's learn more about outifor uniform is the global leader inConversational Service Automation, company's vision is to disrupt anoutdated customer service model. I originally gap between human andmachines. An voice ai am automation that every voice, every call is trulyhurt for more information about youwww forbock, Comon, email, podcast, tatyouifocom for Teep at you now back to the c. So when we talk about agents within thecall center, I think especially now that a lot of them are are working athome. Is there a particular skill set that you think will be helpful for themnow and, of course, for the future? Well, I think that when, when you'rehired to be a professional support, person and you're an agent if you arecustomer support, Rep whatever you want to call call yourself, yeah, there's acertain personality, some people at the end of the day of listening to peoplemany times it's handling complaint complain, complain, complain, they're,wiped out. At the end of the day, Dhen't go home, they'll kick their dogthey'll yell at their kids. You know, but there's other people that thrive onthis challenge, I'm going to not only solve this customers problem, I'm goingto turn around their attitude. I love it. This makes me happy. I could dothis for the rest of my life every single day. That's the person. You wantto hire that's the person and by the way there are plenty of those peopleout there. For example, if you put me in a file cabinet, room and SEAD herefile these within about an hour, don't walk in. You know I might explode happen, but but the point is somepeople absolutely love that so you've got to hire the right people for theright job and I think that's really important and recognizing that you knowwhen you have somebody working at home, there's a couple of three things:different that if they haven't worked at home before some people, this iswhat they want to do, and they're really good at it and they'redisciplined to do it and the company set up to provide them the right toolso that they can help them be successful. But somebody that's movedso. For example, I was talking with a client and one of the people that werein this group of customers that they...

...had have sixty thousand agents andsixty two call centers across the World Covid nineteen hits they've got to shutdown every one of them and move all sixty housend people. Actually it wasprobably closer to fifty fivehsand. They had about maybe five to tenpercent that were already working from home. Now it's a hundred percent andwhen this was all over, they said you know what we're going to keep mostpeople working at home, we're going to shut down a good percentage of hoursupport setters. We realize that we can do without, but we talked about what'sthe danger. What's the problem? Well, people who are used to working in acollediality type of environment, that's right! Prase they like beingable to look over at the you know, Cubil, go next to him and ask aquestion and ask somebody, and then they like the manager coming over andhelping when help is needed and hating them on the back. You O hear that inthe background yeah, you hear that in the background, when you call o yeahyeah, but the point is, is that the employee, the agent likes thatinteraction now they're isolated in their home, probably in a secondbedroom third bedroom at their dining room table wherever okay whever it is Iand now they've got no friends on either side of them. They've got nomanager. The key is, I think, and this is what's really cool- is and I'm notsure what the right number is when we went virtual during this time we wentthree meetings today morning, lunch afternoon. We wanted to stay connected.I actually believed, and some support center say well, let's do it with twomeetings: Aday, so, whether it's two or three, I think the goal is: What's theright balance to get your people to feel connected, feel like they're partof the team still feel like, because otherwise the danger is- and I justwrote about this- I don't know if it's been released yet the commoditizationof the job. So remember, companies can sell a product that customers can buythat product from maybe a hundred different places. FIVEPLACE doesn'tmatter it's a commodity when your job that you give somebody becomes acommodity, you risk losing really good people to other businesses. Simplybecause you know I don't have any connection with any of my employee orIno my college yeah. They offer me a job for a little bit more money. Whynot? Okay, we want to keep the best people in the way to do that is to makethem feel connected engaged to the company. So there's some danger ingoing into the isolated remote situation without managing theemployees. Experience well yeah, that's very true! You definitely need Ha. Wedo this t a uniform in terms of even this morning we had a company all hands.We have people in in India, Singapore, Japan, US all remote right. So twohundred plus offices essentially and the cofounder robbies like you- shouldgo and and talk to two or three people that really haven't talked to beforeand just call Hem Don' talk about work, but just callhem and say how's it goinghows life. May We talk about a passion that you have, and I think that says somuch about the company culture and about just kind of being part of the ofa team being part of something bigger right. Imagine if every week you weretold you had to meet somebody Wyou had met before in your company and you arerandomly assigned this person, you don't know who they are, what they dofor the company. Maybe you know there might be some commonality that youchoose. You know to Lang people, but someone in the other side of the world.Wouldn't it be cool for you to say for your company to say: Hey, everybodygets ten minutes to meet so many new. Every week the end of the year youillmet fifty new people and I'll bet some of those people. You stayed with. Iactually think that's a great idea for an article, I'm going to write thatdown there. You go go for it, no badseriously. I mean, I think that says a lot about kind of humanity and aboutthe relationships Tho you trying to build, especially within a company anda lot of times. We talk about CAS or experience on the outside customerscalling in or how are they interact, but I think the employees are the ones.That's sometimes are suffering in terms...

...of the opportunities that they used tohave. This need o a different way of doing it. Rightright and depending uponthe organization to people said recently, things slowed downdramatically for support center. Sometimes things went up dramaticallywith the need and the help, but if there was any downtime at all, what agreat time thid just create a random list of customers to hand to an agentand say, would you just call and say thank you. Let Hem know that we'rethinking about hem I mean and Imagine I don T. I mean it's impassible to hitevery customer, but if Youare, a smaller company that has a smallcustomer base of a few thousand customers, it's not difficult to over aperiod of time, Rach out to virtually every one of them at some point, yeahdo call plite of some sort. totly awesome. I love these ideas. These willnot just ideas. This is reality. Just keep cewing up the right questionsto you know le go off Ani Tangents, and maybe we never know what's going tohappen o. This is great. It's a good conversation. So the next one that cuseI was TNS thinking about is, as you know, customers have a wealth ofinformation and dad in front of them. They are sometimes smarter than thebrand that they're calling into or that they're interacting, with least theythink they are, they think theyare. I mean I do this to a bike shop to say, Heletona, whoever, whoever it isTamazon, so they expect more right and I think they also lise to how I feelwe're comparing the services that they receive, based upon an amazingexperience that we had another company like this should be the same. Thisother company did this. Why can't you do that? That's what happens to that'swhy the bars set high. Today, customers are smarter than before. They know whatgood services they know, what they can get from other companies and when theydon't get it from this company, they get disappointed. I call that theexperience gap yeah now, that's a great hat's, a great term. So the questionthat I have I mean relate to: that is: How can data and AI help the customerservice experience and meet those expectations? Everyone thanks for listening to partone of the SHEP hi. Can interview say to to part two in our next episode ofconversations that matter an podcast from uniform. You have been listening to theconversations that matter podcast by uniform, make sure you subscribe to ourpodcast on your favorite podcast player and raisn review, to enable us tocreate relative andvaluable content for Your Business. If you' like to learnmore about conversational surface automation is uniforscom have a GreatTame.

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