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Ask a Customer Experience Expert: SHEP HYKEN

Medallia: Customer Experience

Medallia: Customer ExperienceShep Hyken is a customer 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 works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees.

Hi Shep! Can you tell us how you got into CX and why you find the space so interesting?

Customer service is something I’ve always been into, since the first business I started at age 12. I had a birthday party magic show business. I understood the value of making the customer feel appreciated and confident that they made the right decision to do business with me. Sure, my show was good, but I always showed up early, stayed late, followed up for feedback, wrote thank you notes, etc. My parents taught me well. Eventually customer service and the concept of CX merged. They belong together.

Recently we’ve seen a massive increase in the importance of CX – why do you think that is?

Companies are now realizing that CX is a differentiator. It is a way to gain an edge over competition. It’s a way to add value.

What do you think will be the main CX trends this year?

We’ll see more customized experiences. Data will allow us to individualize the experience the customer has with us. The smart companies will know how to take advantage of that.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give a business trying to improve their customer experience?

Create a customer journey map. Include every touch point, which includes any interaction they have with your business AND the product that you sell. Everything must be analyzed. What is the customer’s experience at each of these interactions and touchpoints? Where do they experience friction or have difficulty with the product, the process, the service, etc.?  Break it down, one little step at a time.

How important is customer feedback as a component of customer experience?

Peter Drucker said something like, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Without feedback, you have no idea how you’re doing. In the end, the customer’s opinion and perceptions are the only ones that count. Don’t think that your CX is good/great. Prove that is by getting your customers’ feedback.

Which CX metrics do you think are the most important?

The perfect answer really depends on the type of business. I’d start with an overall metric, like an NPS (Net Promoter Score) metric. This is a general piece of data that gives a big picture. I’d also consider a look at customer retention, frequency, amount of spending, and increase in spending. I’d try and get data on friction points (problems), speed of communication (when a customer contacts the company for sales, support, general questions, etc.).  Also, consider taking a journey map and getting data on major touch points.

Who do you think needs to own CX in a company?

I’ve always said that customer service is not a department. It’s a philosophy. I believe the same goes for CX. It’s everyone’s job to contribute to the customer’s experience!

Which companies today do you think have great CX? Why?

Tough question as there are so many. The obvious answers are the current rock stars in business; Apple, Zappos, Amazon, Nordstrom, The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, etc. Then there are companies that are solid as a rock, such as Ace Hardware, L.L. Bean, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and many others. What makes them great? They focus on the customer. It is their culture and every employee knows it.

Check out Shep’s amazing online/on-demand virtual training program that includes his best customer service material Shep’s Blog:

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