As I prepared my initial list of the customer service leaders I wanted to interview for this series I realized no matter how good it was it wouldn’t be complete without the “undisputed champion of customer service” – Shep Hyken!
Shep 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. Here’s our interview, enjoy…
Q1: Hi Shep, thanks so much for joining me today. I know you have some great stories so let’s get right into it.
I read where you performed at the Playboy club at the age of 16. What was that like?
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Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Annette Franz. Annette is CEO of CX Journey Inc, a boutique consulting firm specializing in helping clients ground and frame their customer experience strategies in/via customer understanding.
Annette’s passion lies in teaching companies about customer experience and helping them understand the critical linkage between the employee experience and a great customer experience.
Q1. Hi Annette, thanks so much for joining me today. First question – You are one of the leading proponents of “customer experience,” but in today’s challenging marketplace many businesses focus more on generating revenue than on the positive experience their customers receive. How do we get back to understanding that business is about the service and the experience we receive?
This is one of the most perplexing challenges for customer experience professionals today; it seems like such a no-brainer. We know the business needs to focus on the employee experience and the customer experience over revenues. But most executives still adhere to the old management adage that they’re in business to maximize shareholder value. How to overcome this?
We need to build the business case: Listen to customers, make improvements, and show ROI (return on investment). We can also share publicly-available data comparing CX leaders and CX losers to their market performance to help tell the story and build the case. And we share customer feedback, stories, and pain to help executives understand that when things are bad, the customer will not return.
Or develop a customer immersion program where executives get to live with their customers as they try to use the company’s products and services. There are a lot of other things we can do, but the bottom line is that we have to make our case and sell it.
Q2. You have written that the customer experience is an ever-evolving journey. Can you explain what you mean by that?
The customer experience really is a never-ending, ever-evolving journey. Once you’ve designed the best experience for your customers today, their needs change, their expectations evolve, the business evolves, new products and services are introduced, different customers with different needs come on board, etc. Our work is never done!
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Today’s profile is of Kirt Manecke, award-winning author and sales, marketing, fundraising, and business development specialist with over 30 years of experience surprising and delighting customers. He is also the author of “Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service-The Essential 60-Minute Crash Course”.
Q1. Hi Kirt, thanks for joining me today. What do you believe was the turning point that led you from owning a successful surf shop near Keego Harbor, Michigan to where you are today?
After owning the surf shop, I worked for a New York Times Best-Selling children’s book author handling his sales and PR. I saw how well he was doing financially selling books and decided to write and sell my own books. I felt it would be a powerful way for me to be able to make a difference in the world and help fund causes close to my heart like animal welfare and land conservation.
Q2. Did you ever expect the success of your “Smile” series of books and have they changed your views on what “service” is?
While I was writing them, I thought they’d sell, but I also knew there was a chance I’d be wasting all this time writing books that would not sell. It’s a scary thought. I think that’s true with any product or service that people create. There’s always a risk that a product won’t sell. I’m pleased with sales.
The only thing that has changed about my views on service is that I’m very surprised to learn that it is really difficult to try to help some businesses that have poor service. Some managers and owners are not open to feedback and get very defensive. The ones who are open to feedback are usually the ones with the best customer service who are already delighting customers, and these are usually the people who purchase my books.
I guess it follows that statistic: 80% of companies think they are providing superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree.
Q3. What is the best part of your career?
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I’ve had the pleasure to meet many wonderful customer service professionals who are leaders in their respective fields and niches. I was amazed at how warm and welcoming they have been and their willingness to embrace, support and welcome me into their fold. Today, I start my first “Leadership Series” of articles that profiles one of these leaders. Sit back and enjoy some behind-the-scene insight into their world.
We start off with Kate Nasser, founder of CAS, Inc. Kate provides customized training, coaching and people skills workshops and is an award winning blogger and speaker.
Q1. Hi Kate, thanks for being the 1st person profiled for my new leadership series – great to have you aboard! Let’s get started. What interested you in public speaking, training and conducting workshops and how did you get into the industry?
I got into the speaking & training arena when I started my own business. I had been working in computers for many years and saw how my technical colleagues struggled with the customer service aspect of computer support. They didn’t have the people skills to work with the customers and solve their problems. So, my business plan was to teach techies how to talk to other human beings throughout the business. They loved my workshops because I was a techie and could help them learn better people skills.
Q2. What was the turning point that led you from being a high school teacher to The People Skills Coach™?
I was a high school math teacher for only a few months. Despite my love of teaching I knew early on that public school teaching was not my niche. I became a computer programmer, a systems analyst, and then moved into technical end user support. It was there that I combined my natural customer service skills and my love of working with people. Yet I was still dissatisfied with my life. I left and started my own business and became The People Skills Coach™.
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