“What I was learning from both of my parents is to say thank you, show appreciation, get feedback, act on the feedback, and improve the experience in the process,” says Shep Hyken, when describing his experience running his birthday magic show business as a pre-teen. These lessons from Shep’s youth would come to shape his adult experience as public speaker, customer experience and service expert, and an accomplished author.
In this chat with my buddy and colleague, Shep Hyken, we discuss some of the concepts in his latest book, “I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again and Again.” Shep and I talk about measuring a customer’s willingness to come back to your business as an important success metric. I often stress to leaders that retention is a critical metric when looking at customer success; it’s not only about the new customers you’re able to acquire, but who continues to come back to you.
What is your customer behavior telling you? Does it indicate that they truly value your service and CHOOSE to engage with you? Listen to this great conversation between Shep and I for further insights on what makes the difference between repeat business and loyal business.
Shep shares plenty of great gems in this interview, and I think you’ll appreciate the 6-step customer journey that he outlines in his book. Below, you’ll find the simple steps to get started, but you’ll have to read his book to get the full details.
1 – Create the “I’ll be Back Experience.”
Shep says, you need to ask yourself, “Why would customers want to do business with me and not the competition? And don’t say things like, ‘Oh, we have really good people, our service is better,’ because I’ll guarantee you, the customer or your competition thinks the exact same thing.” Take a good look at your overall business behaviors and attitudes toward the customer.
2 – Conduct Your Competitive Analysis With Your Team
Shep explains that you need to brainstorm this process with your team to pull in the most insights and understand why your competitor is earning your portion of the market share. Don’t do this work in a silo.
3 – “Keep the Pace” But Do it Better if You Can
Can you do what your competitor is doing, but better? Shep says, “Do not do the exact same thing if you can avoid this, because otherwise, you’re just the commodity.”
He goes on to share an example from the hospitality industry. Shep speaks on the fact that when people first started checking into hotels, someone decided to give guests a free newspaper. Another hotel saw this strategy, then decided to place the newspaper at the door so the guest won’t have to go downstairs to retrieve one. The next company upped the ante by giving the guest a choice of newspapers to select from. These “amenity wars,” as Shep describes, are a good example of keeping the pace with your customers while also differentiating yourself.
4 – Move from Best in Industry to World Class
“Forget about our competition. What companies outside of our industry do we love doing business with? And why? It doesn’t matter how big or small,” says Shep.
He shares that a large percentage of individuals state that they love Amazon. They love Amazon because of the reliability and the communication. People like knowing when an order is shipped, when it has arrived, and even receiving a picture of the delivery. Customers like having the confidence of knowing what is going on. Communication is very important. Look at what other companies that you admire are doing.
5 – Integrate Practices from the Businesses Outside of Your Industry
Once you’ve looked at the reasons you love doing business with companies you admire, determine what you can implement in yours. Shep explains that you can most likely adapt some of these behaviors and translate them to your business.
6 – Review Steps One Through Five and Put Them to the Test
Now that you’ve implemented all of the above, pay attention to your customers’ behavior and see if you’ve created the “I’ll be back experience.” Shep believes this exercise should be done once a year.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“Wow, what do I know now? Well, I keep amassing information. Because I read articles every day I read books every week, I would say it’s not even so much what I know now, it’s what we can do now that we couldn’t do then? And I wish that the internet was available to us when I was a teenager. Yeah, the ability to get information back then that’s what I wish I would have had more of because I think I would have be much further ahead than I am now.
About Shep HykenShep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.
Shep is the author of Moments of Magic®, The Loyal Customer, The Cult of the Customer, The Amazement Revolution, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, Be Amazing or Go Home and The Convenience Revolution. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus™, a customer service training program that helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.