SBM 073 : How to Improve Customer Engagement with Shep Hyken

Today’s Guest

Shep Hyken is a customer service coach and keynote speaker. He works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees.

This is the 73rd session of Smart Brand Marketing.

Shep whispers his secrets into the ears of CEOs of small, medium and large companies around the country. My goal was to get him on the show and whisper the same secrets in our ears.

We went over his six step Mantra and how we can use these methods right away.

I also asked about how to switch a company that uses a bigger platform to sell (such as Amazon) and wants to move away from it but has never had to deal with customer service before.

We also tackle the sales portion of a business.

MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAY: This is something that I’ve noticed in my own company. If you don’t spend the time and money on training the people right initially… you will pay dearly for it later. Also to have each person in the company do some customer service to get a feel for it and interact with clients.

What are you waiting for…. press play

TOPICS DISCUSSED

  • The six simple steps customer service process
  • How to move away from Amazon?
  • How to handle customer service?
  • Who should deal with the customers?
  • Activity inventory
  • Who handles the sales?
  • Be aware of the numbers?

How to Improve Customer Engagement

Giving your customers a great customer experience is actually something that lies at the very core of your business model. If you can’t provide for it, you can expect for your business to not achieve its long-term goals in the pace that you have set for it.

The first part in an ideal customer experience always involves in getting them engaged. You might be surprised that getting your customers engaged with your brand on a regular basis is not as difficult as you think. The location, structure and size of your business does not even matter as any business can find a way to improve their customer’s engagement with the brand.

Now the question you might have right now “how do I do that?” which is often followed by “will this be possible on my business?” The answer is on the positive for both but let’s establish a few things first.

The Six Steps to the Customer Service Process

Improving your customer’s experience always begins with you laying out how your staff will serve your customers. Regardless of their size and type, nearly every business out there follows the same six simple steps regardless if they are aware of this model or not. These steps are as follows.

  1. 1. Define the Vision

    The first step always involves you (the leader) determining the direction your business should take and/or the ideals it upholds when it comes to serving customers. This is not your company’s vision as a whole but your customer service division’s vision.Take, for example, the Ritz-Carlton’s customer service mantra which goes as:

    “Were Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”

    With that in mind, you don’t need a long, multi-paragraph preamble for your customer service vision. Something short and sweet that encompasses only a few sentences or one should be enough. The shorter and more concise your vision is, the easier it is to repeat and remember.

  2. 2. Communicate It (and Often)

    Once your customer service has been defined, you need to find ways to make your staff remember it as often as possible. It could be as simple as putting it in their ID tags or at the front of your service center so that whoever passes through will read it. Whatever strategy you have in mind, remember that you need to communicate the message as often as you have to condition your staff’s minds for it.
  3. 3. Training

    Assuming that you had already hired the right kind of people for the job, the training portion of this process is all about translating the vision into something that is tangible, meaning it can be observed, experienced, and gauged.Training should not even be this one-time process where your staff have to learn a new skill in a few days. It can be done through little reminders every day that helps them remember the quality of service that they have to maintain.
  4. 4. Leading By Example

    Assuming that you had already hired the right kind of people for the job, the training portion of this process is all about translating the vision into something that is tangible, meaning it can be observed, experienced, and gauged.Training should not even be this one-time process where your staff have to learn a new skill in a few days. It can be done through little reminders every day that helps them remember the quality of service that they have to maintain.

    It goes without saying that you’d find it difficult to implement changes in your business if you don’t become a role model for your staff. You need to demonstrate to your people how things should be done

    If you want a good example of a role model type of leader, look no further than General George S. Patton. The man might be a polarizing political figure with his constant cussing and in-your-face approach but business experts do find value in the manner which he directs his army. Simply put, he does not shout orders from the hilltop (as many decorated military officers do) but leads charges right at the very front either in a jeep or in a tank.

    Apply this in your business mode (minus the tank, obviously) and it simply means engaging with your staff as often as possible and maintaining a firm resolve in the changes you mind (Source: https://www.inc.com/rhett-power/the-general-patton-approach-to-leadership-and-success.html). Modeling what changes you want to implement can go a long way in making your staff see the benefits behind it.

  5. 5. Keeping Things in Line

    Once changes have been implemented and are sustained, they become a part of your company’s culture. It is at this point that you, as a leader, should “defend” that culture by making sure that everyone is in sync with general direction of the business.If not, then you have the option to let the staff undergo through more training or constantly remind them of the vision.
  6. 6. If it Works, Celebrate It!

    So changes have been implemented and the results of it have been seen. The next thing to do is to let your staff know that they are doing a great job. You might be surprised how encouragement can go a long way in ensuring the changes that you have implemented become the standard for your customer service. Doing so reminds your staff that, from this point on, there is no other direction for your customer service’s quality but upwards.

How Do I Implement this Process?

From a look at the Customer Service Process, you might think that his scheme only works in one department where everyone sees each other and directly communicate with each other.

The problem here is that not all businesses employ the same kind of business model. There are even companies out there whose business models span entire countries and employ staff that have never seen each other face to face even if they have been working for years on end. Of course, there are advantages to such business models (source: https://www.telegenisys.com/why-outsourcing-services-have-become-popular.html) but that does pose some problems for the leader if they want some changes to be implemented in their companies, let alone sustained.

The solution is actually quite simple that it encompasses one word only: communication. You need to communicate with your staff as often as possible to let them know that they are part of the team. You will find out that change is the hardest to implement on those key members of your business who feel they are the outliers, the odd ones who are separated from the rest of the team since they are located in another place or some other reason.

It’s all about your mindset for your team and how you approach them. If distance is a barrier, then there are tools out there that can help you collaborate with offshore teams more efficiently (source: https://elearningindustry.com/7-online-communication-tools-collaborate-elearning-teams).

The point here is to constantly communicate your vision for the team so that they will know what you want from them and they, in turn, can let you know what they need and how they can achieve the goals set for them.

Another thing to remember is the purpose of your business. Yes, your goal is to earn money but do you know what purpose does your business serve? Your answer will vary depending on the business you have but it always boils down to the same thing: to provide something to people.

Since you are in business to provide for people, then it goes without saying that the reason why you are implementing changes is to keep your customers.

How to Move Away from Amazon?

If you have been selling products online, you might be aware of just how beneficial platforms like Amazon are. Simply put, you only need to subscribe to their service, sell your products, and they will do the rest of handling your customer’s concerns.

But if you are implementing new customer service policies, would that make services like Amazon redundant on your part? The answer is yes. If you plan to move your business away fully from platforms like these, you have keep in mind a few things first.

  • Be Ready for it. In as much as nobody destroys a bridge before making sure that that there is still a way to cross through that area first, you need to make sure that your business does not slow down before you cancel your subscription.Establish your new customer service strategies first, even lightly, to train your staff on how to handle the new work load. This way, transitioning fully to the new process will be easier and you don’t lose a lot of potential clients from your move.
  • Spend Time on the Front Line. Remember that platforms like Amazon have only been around for as long as the Internet has been which has only been around for at least 3 decades now. Back then, everyone on sales was required to do a bit of selling themselves whether directly or in the phone.

    Yes. From the highest-ranked member to the new guy, everyone on sales had to, well, sell something. The reasoning behind this is simple: If everyone has an experience dealing with customers, transitioning to a new form of customer service will not be that hard. Of course, if everybody knows how to deal with people on a regular basis, weaning your business off from platforms like Amazon should be easier.

Who Should be Doing Sales?

So, if everyone is required to be on the front line of customer service, does this mean that you as the leader should devote your time fully to it? Should you take the time of your busy schedule to actually close a sales offer or two for a day? The answer is no.

There is more to the business than sales and it is your job as the leader to look over every aspect of your business, not just one. The point of spending time at the front line is to be aware of how your business should be engaging with customers. It’s not your job to actually spend the entire day dealing with customers for your staff.

Instead, you must bring in the right kind of people to form your own customer service crew. Whatever requirements you have for these guys, it is important that they should possess the follow qualities:

  • Self-Control. Customer service is not exactly easy especially if you have to deal with a customer who is rude, argumentative, and a chore to talk to. Your customer service rep should be able to maintain a firm grip over their temper when dealing with people so as to ensure a good experience for your customers and, for your business, close a sale.
  • Empathy. The ability to “put yourself in the other’s shoe” is actually an important skill in customer service. Your candidate should be able to see things from the customer’s perspective so as to identify what the latter needs and, especially in the case of difficult customers, bring them to a more agreeable position.
  • Adaptability. Since you are in the process of implementing new customer service policies, it goes without saying that your candidate should have the ability to adapt to new standards as they are implemented. Adaptable candidates actually find no difficulties in settling to the new status quo as soon as you introduce them.
  • Adaptability. Since you are in the process of implementing new customer service policies, it goes without saying that your candidate should have the ability to adapt to new standards as they are implemented. Adaptable candidates actually find no difficulties in settling to the new status quo as soon as you introduce them.
  • Emotional Stability. Work can be stressful and you would rather have someone who knows to keep calm when pushing deadlines. They must also have good impulse control which means that they are not reckless or hasty when making decisions.

These are just some qualities that a good customer service representative should possess. You can add more to fit your company’s needs as you see fit. The point here is to find the right kind of people that will help you achieve the goals of your business as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In Conclusion

When you break everything down to the most basic of components, ensuring that your customers are engaged with your brand all depends on the way you treat the customer service part of your business.

The vision you have for what your customer service should achieve to the strategies you implement will go a long way in ensuring that whatever customers you have convinced to try out your products or service will actually return for more.

Have you implemented the six step process in your customer service efforts? What problems and advantages have you experienced in changing the way you do your customer service processes? Let us know in the comments below!

 

RESOURCES

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SHEP IN ACTION

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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