Amaze Every Customer Every Time

Shep Hyken

You must deliver an amazing customer experience. Why? It is the competitive edge of new-era business–in any market and any economy.

Renowned customer experience expert Shep Hyken explains how consistently amazing customers through stellar service can elevate your company from good to great. All transformations require a role model, and Shep has found the perfect role model to inspire your team: Ace Hardware. Ace was named as one of the top ten customer service brands in America by Businessweek and ranked highest in its industry for customer satisfaction. Through revealing stories from Ace’s over-the-top work with customers, Shep explores the five tactical areas of customer amazement: leadership, culture, one-on-one, competitive edge, and community.

Delivering amazing service requires everyone in your organization to step up and be a leader. It doesn’t take a title. It takes the right set of tools and principles. To help you empower employees at all levels, Shep brings the content to a deeply practical level. His 52 Amazement Tools–like ”Ask the extra question” and ”Focus on the customer, not the money”–are simple, clear, useful for almost anybody, and supported with compelling research and stories.

Between these covers, you will find the tools and tactics you need to transform your company into a seriously customer-focused operation that will amaze every customer every time.

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About The Right Customer Service Tools for the Job

To do any job well, you have to have the right tools. Open a carpenter’s toolbox and you will find tools like a hammer and a saw, screwdrivers and the like. Some tools, however, you can’t necessarily see or touch, but they are universal tools that are essential to the success of any business, and these are customer service tools.

In my recent book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, I provide a wealth of tools – 52 to be exact – that any company can use to deliver amazing customer service and build the kind of loyal customer base that ensures growth and success.

Now if you’re thinking that implementing 52 customer service tools seems like an overwhelming task, relax. Choose which tools will work for your business and where to focus your efforts. But, if you’re feeling inspired to do all you can and place yourself among the customer service superstars, take heart in the knowledge that it can be done – and there is a company that proves it.

For my book, I decided to rely on one company to serve as a role model for amazing customer service. This company’s name probably wouldn’t come up if I asked you to name the best customer service companies – you might say Nordstrom, Apple or Ritz-Carlton – but there is another business that consistently tops customer service surveys, and that company is Ace Hardware.

Ace Hardware is a chain of locally owned hardware stores known for their special brand of customer service. That special, helpful service has been Ace’s winning strategy for 90 years, and it’s what enables them to compete against stores that are 10 times bigger and spend 30 times more on advertising.

Let’s take a look at a few basic strategies for providing amazing service:

 

  • – Plan your brand of special service – For example, Ace focuses on helpful. It is their tag line and their brand promise. They want to be the most helpful hardware stores on the planet. Helpful is more than just being nice, although that’s part of it.

 

  • – Get all employees on board – Distill your brand promise into a simple, memorable phrase or mantra, and make sure all employees know it and deliver it. Ace employees know that their customers should experience their promise of being “the helpful hardware place.” Ritz-Carlton’s employees live by the credo, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Simple and concise, yet powerful.

 

  • – Hire the right people – Once you have your brand promise, get the right people in place who will honor it and deliver it successfully. Consider not just skills and attitude when hiring, but personality too. Then train them in the type of service that you want your customers to receive.

 

  • – Empower your employees – Once you have hired the right people, trained them and inspired them to deliver your special brand promise, empower them to do it. Customer service should be based on guidelines – not unbendable rules and policies – so that your employees have the freedom to meet the customers’ needs.

 

  • – Celebrate success – Don’t forget to recognize employees’ hard work and dedication in delivering your customer service vision. Success is a call for celebration, and recognition serves as motivation to continue and do even better.

 

Finally, one of the most important strategies that you can use – and Ace embodies this well – is giving back to the community. While some may argue that this does not fall under the category of customer service, it is one of the strongest strategies or tactics you can use to connect with your customers on a deeper and more personal level.

Some Ace retailers have food drives, contribute to the local sports or allow kids’ teams and clubs to hold bake sales in front of their stores on Saturday mornings. By giving back to the community, at many different levels, the customers feel a connection and reciprocate with their business.

Are you ready to learn more strategies and tactics for delivering amazing customer service? You’re probably already doing more than you realize, but it is an exciting prospect to learn new ways to connect with customers and gain their loyalty. And I promise, you’ll have fun in the process!

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Shep Hyken, author of Amaze Every Customer Every Time, explores the demanding and important world of customer service, and how stellar service can elevate a company from good to great using Ace Hardware as the model of great.

About the Author

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic, The Loyal Customer and the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers, The Cult of the Customer and The Amazement Revolution, which was also recognized as a New York Times bestseller, and, his latest book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

In 1983 Shep founded Shepard Presentations and since then has worked with hundreds of clients ranging from Fortune 100 size organizations to companies with less than 50 employees. Some of his clients include American Airlines, AAA, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, AETNA, Abbot Laboratories, American Express – and that’s just a few of the A’s!

Shep Hyken’s most requested programs focus on customer service, customer loyalty, internal service, customer relations and a motivational program titled “You Are The Magic!” He is known for his high energy presentations, which combine important information with entertainment (humor and magic) to create exciting programs for his audiences.