Episode 048 : Taking It To A Whole New Level of Being Extraordinary with Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a Customer Service and Experience expert and Cheap Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is the New York Times best selling author and has been inducted in the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who wants to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles has been read in hundreds of publications and he is the author of 5 books, he is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training programme which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mind set.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
What is your view of customer service and customer experience, what do you think is the number 1 reason why it’s not consistent across all industries both private and public sector?
If you could describe the most amazing customer experience that you’ve ever had, what would that be and why?
How do you stay motivated every day?
What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
Where can our listeners find your information online?
What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?


Shep Hyken stated that his first education on customer service and experience was when he was 12 years old. He was doing magic shows for parties and he came home and his mom said, “Make sure you write a “Thank You” note.” He thought that was a great idea but little did he know that that was customer service. His dad said, “Follow up a week later and thank them again with a phone call and also ask what they liked about the magic show and find out what was their favorite tricks and how they felt about the show.” And that was also a sales tactic because soon as they said, “Hey you were great” and he would ask why and say, “I notice that little Johnny had a sister, does she need a magic show too?” That was all helpful but what he was learning was: 1 – Show appreciation to customers, 2 – Ask for feedback. His dad actually told him that,“When they tell what tricks they like, if they aren’t mentioning certain tricks as you go and do more and more shows, see if the parents aren’t mentioning the same tricks or are mentioning the same tricks and then you’ll know what tricks you might want to pull out and replace to try and make better because nobody is talking about them.” And he goes, that’s great feedback and isn’t that what we do in business today and that’s why he jokingly say but it’s really no joke that his customer service experience started with common sense that was taught to him by his parents and that’s really where a lot of customer service falls in the world of common sense. There he was age 12 doing that and he worked in Gas Stations when he was a kid and he was in a self serving station when he was in college at a gas station where you pump your own gas but it was a cold day and an elderly woman came, jumped out of her car to pump gas and he said, “Mam, get back into the car, I’ll pump your gas, it’s too cold.” And he pumped her gas and the manager at the gas station as he was a low-level employee, got upset with him for pumping her gas and he said, “This is the right thing to do, the woman could slip, she could break a hip.” She had to be 80 may 90 years old and he thought it was the right thing to do, once again common sense. He believes in all of that and he eventually in that retail organization was a region manager for the convenient stores and gas stations that they had and eventually the station’s operations manager and when they sold their company, he didn’t have a job and he decided to get into the world of professional speaking and he had a little entertaining background and he had some business background, plus he had gone to college, got his degree and he felt he could write a speech and within a very short time, all the research that he was doing and his favorite topic was in that world of customer service, so that’s what he gravitated toward right away and that was over 30 years ago. He was hired back in the early 1980’s by companies like IBM and General Motors and Enterprise Rent a Car, these were his first clients and he’ll never forget because to him IBM was one of the greatest companies and is still a great company but back then they were the ones that really bring customer service on the map, “We want to be so good at what we do that price doesn’t matter.” And of course price always matters at some point but when it becomes less and less relevant, it’s because of the value that you offer and many times that value is because we have a reliable product, we have unbelievable response time, that’s customer experience.

Shep Hyken stated that what amazes him, he read that customer service they spend about 1/10th of what they spend on marketing and at the end of the day, customer service is the best marketing you can have because if you do a great job, people go out and talk about you. Customer service used to be where the value was and then it slowly shifted to something they call customer experience and experience for a long time was just another word for service. Steve Jobs figured it out and he use him as an example of the Apple products he has, obviously you walk into an Apple store great service, you call their support line, you get great service but really what he figured out is the experience is more important than just the service, although service is a big part of it, when you get your new Iphone or Ipad or your Mac computer, the way it’s packaged alone is a great experience. So all these different touch points the customer has with you and it’s not just people to people touch point, it’s what you experience. He stated that he always quote Jan Carlzon, when he’s doing a speech, he talks about this concept called a “Moments of Truth” and he came up with it and primarily he focus on the people to people experience but he called the “Moments of Truth” in business whenever a customer came into contact with any aspect of the business, they form an impression. Jan Carlzon ran Scandinavian Airlines so his customers were passengers, so there were main impressions that were formed when a customer call to make a reservation, today we go online and do it but back in the early 1980’s when he was running Scandinavian Airlines, you pick up the phone and you made the call, you check your bags at the curb, you make check in at the ticket counter, all of these are major touch points but if you think about it, you sit down in the plane and is the seat comfortable? And he used to joke that if the tray table doesn’t work, the passenger might worry that the landing gear might not work. So it’s like, “They can’t keep the tray table from falling down.” But what is the user experience in addition to the customer service experience, so you combine thoseand that’s the total experience. All of his work for the first three quarters of his career was based on customer service, now a chunk of his work that they do, he is brought in to talk about what is the experience going to be? What can we do to enhance that? Which he emphasize that customer service is a big part of that.

Shep stated that he talks about a cab driver in many of his speeches and it seem to be like a normal cab but when he got in it was spotlessly clean, it had 2 newspapers to chose from waiting for him, he gave him a soda and this was back before bottled water. He had a dish of candy, he asked if he needed to use his phone, he was great and he send him a thank you note because he asked him for his business card because he said he collected them from people he drove. He sent him a thank you note after a ride; think about that, that’s amazing. Every time he goes to Dallas he calls him but he’s retired now. The interesting thing was that has he got to know Frank, he would tell him things like he used to wait at the airport like every other cab driver 2-3 hours in the long line and now he just goes and parks the car and walks and waits 10 minutes for his next customer and he’s managed to make back in the day more than USD $100,000.00 a year as a cab driver because he figured it out, he figured out the average cab drivers making 3 or 4 decent trips a day that are making them money and he’s making 15 or more because he’s not waiting in line, he’s waiting for his customers and he figured it out because it’s customer service and the lesson is there is a big difference between satisfied customers and loyal customers. There is statistics and facts that will prove that satisfied customers don’t always go back to places that satisfy them because the moment they have a chance to do business with somebody a little bit better, a little more convenient, they will do that and that’s the difference and the loyal customer’s a mind set, it’s an emotion, you feel connected, so he felt truly connected with Frank, when he sent him that thank you note, that was it. It was like in that movie with Tom Cruise where he plays a sports agent, Jerry McGuire, “You had me at with the thank you note, you owned me at that point.” Shep stated that he has a lot of stories like that but he really loved that one because of the ordinariness of the job of being a cab driver and taking it to a whole level of being extraordinary and anybody can do that if a cab driver can figure it out, we can do it virtually in any business.

Shep Hyken shared how he stay motivated, he stated that he is an optimistic guy and sometimes you’re just born with the luck of thinking that way, some of it has to do with the way you are brought up by your parents. He stated that he has this optimistic outlook, at a very young age he surrounded himself with the right people and even as a teenager, he had great mentors and these people drove him to be more successful because maybe they made him feel good, maybe telling him he’s doing a good job like a coach telling you, “Go out there, you can do it, you did it, that’s great” pat you on the back but he over came fears, he did the magic shows and you would think a kid at age 12 doesn’t have fear, he was scared to death of those little kids staring at him. Even in his mid 20s, he started his speaking business and if the audience was under 100 people, he felt comfortable but as soon as it got bigger than that, he was scared, when he got in front of an audience of 1000 or 10,000 so he’s still nervous but he gets over it because mostly anxiousness than, “I’m scared to get out there.” How do you get motivated? You have to over come things and feel really good about what you do so that drives you. He reads a tremendous amount of good things, one of the things he doesn’t do anymore, he doesn’t watch local news and even the national news, national news keeps you inform of many things but local news, they are showing car accidents, crime scenes and other than the weather and sports, he doesn’t need that negativity in his life, he needs to know the big picture things. He also works out quite a bit and he has fun. He shares that he has a really good balance, he works very hard but he has a really good time, he takes advantage of things when they are in front of him, he has a great wife, great kids. If he’s going to a sporting event, he soaks it all in and he just loves having fun. He works a tremendous amount of hours but when it’s time to have fun, he knows how to do it.

Shep stated that one of the apps that cannot live without in his business is Outlook, he also mention that he loves a good travel app because he travels so much and he’s using TripIt but it feeds into Flight Update Pro and so that way he can track flights coming into his gate, if they are going to be late many times he knows before the gate agent, so because he travels a lot and that’s great. He stated that for email, he just signed up for Sanebox so if you want to check out Sanebox you can put his email address or his name and you can get a free month. What Sanebox is doing is everything that’s coming into his inbox, it recognize when he’s getting a newsletter and puts it in the newsletter box that he can get to it later on. It is actually learning his routine, it is putting his best emails in his inbox and putting everything else in another box and it’s unbelievable accurate, they say it will essentially save you up to 12 hours a month. There is a feature on it called the Saneblack hole, if somebody subscribe you or you start getting on somebody’s promotional email list of a company and you don’t know how you got on the list, you just put it in the black hole and you’ll never see it again. They give you a trail period to play around so that’s a cool app for a reasonable price. He just got a Slingbox at home so now he can watch TV on his phone and where that counts is when he’s traveling on the other side of the world and his favorite sports teams are playing in the USA and he wants to watch them, so that’s a cool app. Another app is BombBomb, if he wants to take a short video that say, “Hey thank you for having me on your show” and then send it to you, he can do it with the phone but what happens is that attaches the video to the email and if the video is too big, it may get block by your email system, so what BombBomb does is allows you to create a cool template that’s custom to you and then you shoot your video and then you send the email and the person just pushes the button and actually plays if they are connected to the internet, it’s a very cool thing and that’s the most basic use. You could have a list of people and you want to send everybody a video message.

Shep Hyken shared that he mentioned Jan Carlzon book, Moments of Truth was written mid 1980’s and the first time he ran across Jan Carlzon was in an article but he eventually went on to write the book about Moments of Truth and it’s a thin little book that would take an hour to read. Shep stated that to him one of the greatest customer service books of all time. However, his favorite book is called The Experience Economy by James Gilmore and Joe Pine, what a great concept and they used Starbucks and that book has been out for maybe 10 or 20 years and for a company like Starbucks to maintain its relevancy in the experience base is really cool. He stated that Thomas Peters co-author a book back in the 1980’s called In Search of Excellence and he believes he had 50 companies that he considered most excellent companies in the world and if you look at it 25 years later he doesn’t know if half of them made that list anymore. For Starbucks to stay relevant and he predicts that Starbucks will stay relevant, their module is all about the customer not just about coffee and that’s why Amazon has been so successful and when Jeff Bezos says, “We are trying to stay a step up ahead of our competition, we’re trying to stay ahead of the customer” meaning what are we giving the customer more than what they thought they were going to get, get them something they didn’t know and that’s what Steve Jobs did too with Apple, give them something they didn’t know they needed and create this need or discover the need the customer didn’t realize they needed then deliver on it. To put another book, in the latter part of the 1980’s a guy name Harvey Mackay wrote a book called Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition, we have anyone out there with entrepreneurial type businesses or anybody that’s in a business to build a relationship with your customer, this book is unbelievable, it’s filled with so much great information, common sense information from a guy that was really doing it at the time.

Shep Hyken shared that there are 2 or 3 things, number 1 is they have an amazing online group of courses based on the work he has put into his books and what they do with their training programmes and speaking programmes in person, so he’s very excited about how over the years it has been revolving into a major part of their business. He is just finishing up a book called Be Amazing or Go Home, so that’s kind of fun, you got a choice in life, if you want to come to work, be amazing otherwise why show up for work. The other book that’s coming out next year is a book all about creating convenience, they talked a little bit about that’s a part of the experience, how convenient and easy can you make it for a customer because today you walk into a business, you expect a certain level of customer service and that’s table stake and for the last 30 years he has been talking about the table stakes and now he thinks it’s becoming common when companies get it and understand it, whether they execute on it is another thing, so what’s the next level of delivering amazing service and that is be more convenient than your competition.

Shep shared that listeners can find him at –
Shep Hyken Twitter


Shep shared some of the quotes that inspire him in times of adversity. He loves Jiminy Cricket who said, “Let your conscience by your guide.” In business when he’s up against somebody who is upset about pricing or maybe he’s upset that something is a little more expensive than he thought it was going to be and he always remember Aldo Gucci said, “Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.” so when he thinks about business in general, it’s not just the quality product, it’s the quality service and experience and even though he didn’t write it, he thinks it’s a mantra we should all subscribe to, we deliver the best part of the quality, an experience, everything does what it’s supposed to do, great people, people aren’t going to be so concern about the price.

Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon
The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine II and James Gilmore
In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best Running Companies by Thomas Peters
Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition by Harvey Mackay


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