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Article by Shep Hyken

Do Your Customers Trust You This Much?

Shepard Presentations, LLC. 19 December 2018
There was a magic shop in Washington, DC owned by Al Cohen. I met Al when I was a teenager. As I started to perform more and more for money, I could afford to be a regular customer of Al's. Whether I bought tricks from his newsletter or came to the shop in person whenever I was in town, Al would consider me one of his "regulars." One day Al said, "Shep, I know what you like. I get new magic books and props in here every week. If you want, I can take your credit card number and send you whatever I know you'll want. If I'm wrong, send it back."Without hesitating, I handed over my credit card info. Every so often I would receive a package from Al's shop. He was never wrong. Not once did I return an item. He knew me so well - and treated me so well - that I trusted him.About ten years ago I had a little convertible. I bought it on eBay for a few thousand dollars. I referred to it as my "hunk of junk." It was fun to drive, and it was mechanically sound. The car was 35 years old, and most regular car dealers wouldn't work on it because of its age and the difficulty to source parts. I found a mechanic who had one bay in an industrial area and knew how to work on these older cars. I remember taking my car in for service and asking him, "What's this going to cost me?" He replied with a smile, "Half of what the dealer charges. You'll have to trust me." Well, I did, and he never disappointed me. Whenever he worked on my car, it was always less than I thought it would be, and I'm sure at least half of what a typical dealer would charge. I'm glad I trusted him.Not long ago I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. The owner asked if I trusted him to surprise me with a meal that he knew I would enjoy. I reminded him I didn't like mushrooms. He prepared an amazing meal. It wasn't on the menu. I had to trust him, and he didn't disappoint. I can't wait to go back and trust him again.These are simple examples just to make the point. It doesn't matter what type of business you are in, trust creates loyalty. Earning your customers' trust typically takes time. It comes from a predictable and consistent set of experiences. Your customers know what to expect, and you deliver every time. They also know you won't take advantage of them. So, how much do your customers trust you?
Article by Shep Hyken

Be as Easy as Ordering a Pizza

Shepard Presentations, LLC. 8 November 2018
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.Technology has taken us to a new level of pizza ordering. Picking up a phone to order a pizza is an option, but it's so old school. You can order online or use an app on your smartphone or tablet. Or, you can just use a voice command and order with Alexa or Google Home. And, once you order your pizza, you can track the order. You know when your pizza is being prepped when it comes out of the oven and when it's on its way. Domino's has made it easy - as in convenient.And, if you've been following my work, you know about my fascination with convenience. I wrote the book, The Convenience Revolution, and identified six "Principles of Convenience," one of them being delivery. I included Domino's as a case study in the book, but guess what? I didn't include them in the chapter on delivery. I included them in the chapter on technology.In 2008 Domino's was struggling and their brilliant leadership turned the company around. They recognized their pizza wasn't as good as it could be, and publicly stated it needed improvement. So, they improved. They also revolutionized their process and started building technology into the customer experience. The Domino's ANYWARE concept allows their customers to not only order the pizza with the toppings they desire but to connect with their neighborhood Domino's by more than ten ways, with more to come. They include:Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Zero Clicks, Text, Twitter, Ford Sync, Smart TV, Voice and Smart Watch. And, of course, you can still order using the traditional "land-line" phone.Consider that while some people still use the phone, a younger generation experienced these new apps as they were being released and have decided they don't want to use the phone anymore. And an even younger generation has never ordered a pizza with a phone, and they simply won't.The point is that even a pizza company recognizes the necessity to reinvent its processes to keep up with the times. Beyond being a better pizza, they wanted to make it easier on their customers, and that's what every company must do. Study what Domino's has done. What are they doing that you can do in your business? What can you do to be more convenient for your customers?
Article by Shep Hyken

The Shepard Letter - The New End

Shepard Presentations, LLC. 29 October 2018
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Sam Stern, a principal analyst at Forrester Researchfor 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.The topic came up as Sam and I were discussing surveys. Specifically, when surveys are sent and how they could potentially negatively impact the customer experience. Just when the customer thinks the experience is over, it's not. They receive a survey. That's the New End.In a typical transaction with your business, think about the last interaction your customer experiences. This can be any type of business. For example, the restaurant owner may thank the guests as they walk out the door. An automotive repair center may bring the customer's car to the front of the store for the customer to inspect before they drive away. An online retailer's customer's end may be when they open the box with their merchandise. These final moments appear to be the end of the customer's experience, but sometimes there's more.Sometimes the car dealership will send a survey to the customer. Or, the online retailer asks for a review of the product. Those become the New End to those customer interactions, and sometimes that New End can taint the experience.I love a certain hotel that I've stayed at several times. The hotel is clean, the rooms are nice, the restaurants are great, and the staff is always friendly and helpful. I couldn't ask for more. Two days after my first stay I received a survey. I was happy to fill it out. What I thought would be a short survey took almost ten minutes. Still, I wanted to give some credit to the staff, so I took the time to complete the survey. After my next visit, I received the same survey. This time, I did not complete it. Nor did I complete it after the third and fourth visit.The point of that short story is to emphasize that when I walked out of the doors of that hotel, that was not the end. The New End appeared 48 hours later, and it wasn't a positive end.What if that survey had been three short questions? How would I have felt about it? Or, with the ability of computers today, why doesn't their system recognize me as a repeat guest and send me a shorter survey, as in two or three questions, to ensure I felt the same way as the first visit?Think about what the last thing your customer experiences in a typical interaction with you and your organization. Is it a long, multi-page survey that causes survey fatigue and anxiety? Or, is it a thank you note expressing appreciation that will remind your customer about their positive experience with you? Whatever it is, that New End becomes what I refer to as the True End. It's your customer's final experience of that interaction that also sets the tone for future business.
Article by Shep Hyken

Strike the Balance Between the Digital Experience and the Human Experience

Shepard Presentations, LLC. 5 July 2018
There needs to be a balance between the digital and human experience. A total digital experienceis not always possible. If a customer needs support, a chatbot may not have all the answers. The best chatbots have been programmed to understand when it doesn't have an answer or the customer is confused. At that point, the chatbot moves the customer from the digital experience to a human experience, as it seamlessly switches you to a human to continue the conversation. That's the way it should work - just at the right point, moving to the human experience. That's balance. There are other forms of digital experiences. Zappos is the online retailer that makes it easy to connect with a customer service rep. They know customers will have questions, and even though they are an online company that sells off their website, they make it super-easy to connect with a human.And, sometimes the experience moves from human to digital. For example, I may call to talk to a support rep. Maybe I have a "how do I do this" type of question. The customer support rep can simply tell me and walk me through the steps, and that may take some time. So, maybe a better option is to send me an email with explicit instructions. Or, maybe send me a link to a video that shows me, step-by-step, how to accomplish what I'm having trouble with.So, how does a company strike a balance between digital and human? The answer is knowing where to cross over between digital and human - or the other way around. And, that point of the crossover is when there is friction. At the point of friction is the right place to switch. In the examples I just provided, there was a point of friction. The chatbot knew when to flip me over to a live agent. The customer support rep knew I would have a better experience watching a video tutorial. Once you know the point of friction, you can strike the balance between the digital experience and the human experience, giving your customers the experience they deserve.

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