10 Customer Loyalty Killers That Can Shrink Repeat Business

I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again & Again is out now! In his latest book, Shep Hyken discusses 10 loyalty killers that can terminate your relationship with your customers. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back Shep who, in addition to being a New York Times best-selling author, is also a customer experience expert and keynote speaker. 

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Shep, thank you so much for joining us on today’s show.

Shep Hyken:
Hey, thanks for having me back, always a pleasure. Excited officially the book has just released in the last week or so. Yeah, it hit number one in a bunch of categories on Amazon, which is fun. And of course we haven’t seen the final results for the first week, but I’m sure my publisher called late last week and said, “I’m very happy.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s great. If the publisher is happy, you’re a happy writer, right?

Shep Hyken:
If he’s happy, I’m happy, or if they’re happy, I’m happy, whatever. I’m excited about it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And I know the readers of the book will be happy when they finish the book because it’s a phenomenal book. You were nice enough to share it with us before it broke. For people that are listening right now, run, don’t walk to get the book. Get the book for everybody on your staff. Anybody that comes in contact with your customers needs to read this book. Anybody that manages people that come in contact with customers. For that matter, everyone in your company, just buy them a book.

Shep Hyken:
Everybody in the world should get this book.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Everybody in the world should get this book. But seriously, these are the times right now, very unique times because of COVID that customer experience is at an all time high, both negatively and positively. Companies need to focus on it. Some companies are very challenged in delivering expert customer care and customer service to their customers. They need this book. In the book, you talk about some of the killers. We don’t have time for all 10 today, but let’s take the top five and then of course we’ll list all of them on our website and also a way for you to connect in purchasing the book right below this video. Talk to us about the top five killers out there.

Shep Hyken:
Sure. I call them terminators in the book.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Terminators.

Shep Hyken:
I used to call them loyalty killers. What would kill the loyalty in a customer? I’ve written a number of articles on this and this time I thought because the theme of the book, I’ll be back… By the way, it was never meant to tie into the movie Terminator, but about three paragraphs into my outline, not even writing the book, as I was doing the outline, I’m thinking who made these words famous? Anyway, it took on a little bit of a feel. These are 10 what I would call reasons customers would terminate the relationship with you.

Shep Hyken:
Number one is apathy. Interesting about apathy and I do some research, we research every year now, over a thousand consumers we study. Basically weighted to the US census. And the number one reason customers say they don’t want to come back to a business is apathy. 1980s, this is a way decades ago, technical assistant research program commissioned by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs does a study. They find that 70% of customers, the reason they leave a business to go elsewhere is due to apathy. Basically, they said that an employee didn’t seem to care about the customer, which to me is apathy.

Shep Hyken:
Number two, by the way, is rudeness. Rudeness is bad too. I mean, who wants to be treated rudely? But at least it evokes some type of emotion where you might get a customer to complain, “He was so rude.” But apathy is nobody complains to the manager. It was not bad, it wasn’t good. They just didn’t care very much. So you don’t often hear about the apathetic experience, but you do hear about rudeness. I have to look into the book because there are 10 of them and oh, by the way, I have the only softbound book in existence, this is a galley copy and I just keep reading from it. Oh, here’s a good one. Have you ever tried to go onto a website to find the phone number of a company and couldn’t find it, if you wanted to call?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yes, that happens to me often. And it blows me away that I’m going to that website and it’s the hardest thing is to find the phone number.

Shep Hyken:
Right, right. That really frustrates customers and in such a way that reminds them that the next time they need you, they won’t be doing business with you. Here’s a good one and I’m not going in any particular order. You don’t respond to the customer, they didn’t respond to an email. You left a message, they didn’t call. Maybe you texted the company, you sent out a tweet on social media, nobody responded. Right behind that one is poor response time. So here’s my take on it. We look at all these different studies and I’ve written about these before and I did not come up with these stats. But some companies on average in general, it’s four to six days for people to respond to emails.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Is that crazy?

Shep Hyken:
If I wanted my answer in four days, I would have waited four days to ask the question.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. I would have sent you a request by snail mail.

Shep Hyken:
Right, right. Even worse than that is oftentimes when a customer decides they want to connect with a company, it wasn’t like, “Oh, I’ve got a problem. Right now I’m going to connect with them.” No. “Oh, I’ve got a problem. I don’t have time right now because I feel like it’s going to take forever. I’m going to call. I’m going to be put on hold. I’m going to talk to somebody. I’m going to have to be escalated to another person. Tell my story all over again.” I mean, this is what people are thinking and they’ll go, “I’ll just call when I have time.” So oftentimes the problem’s been festering for quite a while. And by the way, we asked in our survey, and this is a great question. Would you rather go to the dentist or call customer support?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Isn’t that crazy?

Shep Hyken:
Do you know how many people or what percentage of people, I guess it would be how many people, what percentage of people would rather go to the dentist?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
No.

Shep Hyken:
Forty-eight percent.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, my gosh, 48%.

Shep Hyken:
I’d rather go to get a root canal. No, I hope it’s not a root canal, but you get the idea. Let me give you another one here that I think is great. You just made them wait too darn long, which I just mentioned. That’s an obvious problem, is people recognize that it’s not going to be a two minute solution.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
It might be 20 minutes before they get in. That’s what they’re worried about. And by the way, the best companies have figured out what to do. If you’re going to make me wait, don’t make me wait a traditional hold. Tell me how long it’s going to be and give me the option. You can call me back if I don’t want to wait and then you do.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. No question about it. One of the worst things too, is when a company takes so long to get back to you, whether it be with a proposal or whether it be just to call you back, just to get back in touch with you and the first thing that comes to my mind is, “Oh, how long is the job going to take?” Assuming that I give them the business, I want to have the pool done or the landscaping, or whatever the case might be. Now you’re wondering, “Uh-oh, if it’s taking them this long to call me back, how long is it going to take to actually get the task done that I’m calling about?”

Shep Hyken:
And your point is well-taken because most of what I do is deal with customer service support. But you’re now getting into customer experience, which is before I even choose to do business with you, I’m already having doubts because of the way you respond.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
They could say, “Oh, you don’t have any idea how busy we are.” Well, you know what, when you’re not so busy, you’re going to wish that you were a little bit more attentive when you were busy.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. [crosstalk 00:08:09] I just had a situation where I brought my vehicle in to get serviced and beforehand, when I made the appointment, at the time of appointment setting, the individual took all the information down. What’s wrong with the car? Well, the air conditioning is blowing hot, not cold. It’s running very, very rough as soon as you go over 30 miles an hour, that needs to get checked out. It needs a road test. But those are the two major things, that’s why I’m having the vehicle serviced. The service advisor calls me back the next morning at 8:30 in the morning and leaves a quick little voicemail that says, “Mr. Fitzpatrick, we’ve got your car here. You dropped it off last night, have all the information, but we’re not going to put it in the shop until we speak to you.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Well, my day goes on. I don’t listen to my voicemails anyway. I think people shouldn’t even leave voicemails today with text messaging and email and everything else. I don’t get that till 4:30 that night. So I called the girl and I said, “Did you really just leave me a voicemail with no follow-up texts? You never called me again during the day. And now we’ve just completely wasted.” She goes, “Well, I wanted to find out what you were bringing the vehicle in for.” All of my time spent with your person that set the appointment, do you have any of those notes? She goes, “No, we don’t have those.” Then why’d you ask me what I was bringing the car in for?

Shep Hyken:
All right, I have to share this with you. That reason number nine, you made them repeat the same story again and again. That’s reason number nine.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It drives me crazy because with today’s technology, you know that that person is filling something out that theoretically, the next person can go on and go, “Oh, I see Mr. Fitzpatrick here. You need the this, you need that. You need the air conditioning,” whatever the case might be. The call should have gone just to let you know your car’s in the shop. We’ll follow up with you later for an estimate as to what it’s going to cost. We’ll be happy to service the vehicle the best we know how and have a great day. But it wasn’t, so the car just sat there all day. But I had to get it in the night before for them to fit it into their service and it was a complete waste of time.

Shep Hyken:
Right, right. I know you said you don’t like people leaving voicemails. So I’m going to defend the dealership on that one, because if you probably left a phone number, that’s the number they called. But where I won’t defend them is when they didn’t hear back from you in an hour or an hour and a half-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I said the same thing.

Shep Hyken:
They needed to follow up with you a second time.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I said the same thing. Now I will tell you, to put a bow on this as they say. I called the girl back and I said, “I cannot believe that you did this. I know customer service and what have you and I know Shep Hyken.”

Shep Hyken:
She started to shake.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
“But this kind of service is unacceptable that you wouldn’t follow up with something to say, wait a minute, the car is still sitting there. I called him at 8:45, it’s now 10:45. Did he even get my voicemail? We’ve got to get this car in service. I never got anything.” She goes, “Well, I’m sorry about that, but I’ve had a very busy day.” I said, “You had a busy day. I can’t believe you just said that. I’m a busy guy.” She goes, “I don’t need this.” Boom! Hangs up on me.

Shep Hyken:
No.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I swear to God, that’s what happened. Of course, I called up the owner of the dealership and told them the situation. I said, “Is business that good that you can hang up on customers?” I mean, and it’s a BMW. Not that it would be acceptable at any brand, but you expect a little higher service. There’s a lot of craziness going on out there right now, right?

Shep Hyken:
Wow! So nice car. By the way, I understand that’s your nickname on the golf course; BMW.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
BMW?

Shep Hyken:
You’re the ultimate driving machine. Right down the middle, 300 yards every time.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. It’s down the middle of the other fairway though. Not the one that I’m on.

Shep Hyken:
By the way, for those watching, just before we started we were talking about trying to get together for a golf game.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
Let’s put context to that. Well, you had a terrible experience. Now, how did the owner of the dealership or the GM handle your comment about the employee?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Great question. The person said, “Wow, that doesn’t sound like her. That’s not characteristic for that service advisor and I’m sorry for your experience. What I’m going to do right after this call is I’m going to listen to that phone call to see how that went.” Which left me a little like, “Are you questioning the story that I just told you?” But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. They did listen to the phone call. He called me back and apologized in a very big way for that experience and said, “How can we make it up to you?” They came back around, but it was a very upsetting experience for me. I was that I was that close to just saying, “You know what, we’re going to come pick the car up and we’ll go to another BMW dealership that would love to have my service over the course of the next five years.”

Shep Hyken:
Any incentive for you to come back? Did they say, “Hey, the next time you’re going to get an oil change, we’re going to change your wiper blades.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
They did not.

Shep Hyken:
Nothing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Nothing, no detail to the car while it’s in service, none of that. By the way, the bill on the car to have it serviced $5,450.

Shep Hyken:
Oh, wow.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
This isn’t for a lube, oil and filter. I mean, at that number, that’s a pretty good customer, right?

Shep Hyken:
Offering to detail your car at no charge is… Let’s throw this out there as another lesson. A lot of times companies will, especially at restaurants, when you go to a restaurant, “Oh, the steak’s not cooked the right way.” They take it back, they fix it, they come back and then they give you a free dessert. Which by the way is why you should always complain, even when there’s nothing to complain about at a restaurant. Because they always give you something for free. I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. But what I tell the management of a restaurant, because they’re so inclined to want to give things away for free, is don’t give it away today. Give it away next time.

Shep Hyken:
Say, “I’m really sorry this happened. Here’s my card. Next time you come in here, the drinks are on me.” Now, you’re not giving a whole meal away. You’re giving some drinks away. I think saying to you, “Hey, we really made a mistake. If it’s okay with you, we’d like to really give you a great detail on your car. We’re going to make it look brand new. Would you let us do that for you?” And what does that cost them? They’ve got the people there anyway. Spend a little bit of time, I get it, but it’s worth it. Especially you spent $5,400.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
There’s no question about it. Or even to have the vehicle dropped off at my home or office rather than me having to go-

Shep Hyken:
Yeah, offer to bring it. It’s a little something extra, it’s not giving you cash. It’s not giving it to you for free. It’s offering a service that will hopefully endear you more to that dealership because they tried and they said they were sorry. By the way, that’s what happens. When you have these problems, you and I have talked about this before. Number one, you need to acknowledge it. I’ve got a five step process. Acknowledge and apologize, and you can flip those around apologize. “Hey, I’m really sorry this happened. I’d be upset if that happened to me.” There’s your acknowledgement and your apology. Now let’s talk about what we’re going to do to get it fixed. You discuss the resolution. Number four is who you’re talking to owns it. Even if they’re not going to be the ones to actually take care of it. At least you feel like you’re talking to somebody who’s going to manage it for you. And number five, you act with urgency. You do this as quickly as possible. So acknowledge, apologize, fix it, own it, and act with urgency.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right and those are all very, very spot on. That’s exactly the way, in my opinion, a customer complaint or a negative customer experience should be handled, with no exceptions. Don’t defend the person’s attitude or defend the person’s actions. Which by the way, at that time, you don’t know about yet. They could have been wrong. And just as you said, just own it and apologize. All of those are all great.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Hey, let me switch gears a little bit with you here and talk a little bit about Amazon and retailers like Target. We got talking about that before we got recording today. Pick up right there with Amazon because I know that you’ve had some experience there.

Shep Hyken:
Well, we were talking about earlier about the problem that companies are having getting good employees. There’s the great recession and now it’s the great resignation. Companies are struggling with people who just want to say, “You know what? In the last year and a half I’ve learned to work from home. I like it. I don’t want to go back to work.” Some people, because of the programs that were out there for people that lost their jobs, they learned what stress-free living could be all about.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
Albeit sometimes they’re not making the same amount of money they were. I read a great article today that talked about how Target is looking at their employees and saying, “What can we do to keep our best employees? We don’t want to lose them.” What they found out is that these employees that are working at Target, many of them don’t necessarily want to work less. They actually want to work more. What happened is Target was listening to them because they were getting ready to hire a number of seasonal employees as we come into the holiday season in just a month or two away. What they said to their employees is, “Hey, if you want to work more, we’re going to let you work more. So we will hire less seasonal people if that’s what you want.”

Shep Hyken:
You know what, they’re also similar to Amazon, going in at a little bit higher starting wage. Amazon’s starting wage is $15 an hour, as a number of companies have stepped up to do that because that’s what they feel it’s going to take to get employees to come with them. Some employers are actually having signing bonuses if you were to come and work for them. But anyways, right, $15 an hour is great. I was talking to an Amazon employee and I said, “How do you like working there? I mean, there’s a lot of negative press about the conditions, the work, they’re overworking you.” He goes, “No, we get paid for what we do and we get paid very, very well. I mean, we’re starting at $15 an hour.”

Shep Hyken:
What happens, he felt that the problem isn’t so much the conditions, as much as the appreciation. He says even he feels after being there for several years, a little bit of a lack of appreciation. Not knowing if he’s doing a good job or not, because the managers aren’t taking the time to work with them.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right, feedback.

Shep Hyken:
Well, maybe managers are stressed out too, but that’s real important. But he said, “Hey, if we want to work longer hours, they give us an incentive and they pay us up to 20% more if we’re willing to work a night shift or the weekend.” That’s not bad.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
He says, “I don’t know why everybody complains about that.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, no, there’s no question about it. These are the things that companies need to do. The days of putting a sign out and saying, “Hey, we’ll give you minimum wage, $7.25 or $7.85 an hour. We’re going to go ahead and give you $8.85 an hour,” those days are gone. I mean, and if you’re trying to hold on to that, you might as well take down the now hiring sign because it does take that. It takes that initial investment in your employees to take good care of your customers. The old adage, you get what you pay for. Well, if you’re going to get somebody at minimum wage, you probably can’t complain too much about how they treat your customers. And you’re right, it is the time right now that the workers are in the driver’s seat because they see every company out there is hiring.

Shep Hyken:
It goes back and forth.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yep, that’s right. That’s right. They’re thinking, “Well, maybe I can better my situation.” So don’t give them a reason to do that. I mean, give them a reason to stay because you need employees.

Shep Hyken:
Yeah, it’s the churn, the cost of hiring, training. It’s far more expensive than to pay them a little bit more as an incentive to keep people there. But I will tell you that all the money in the world… Well, all the money in the world would be nice, but a good wage, still you have to add a level of appreciation from management too because people want to be fulfilled in their jobs. And part of what makes them feel fulfilled is that they know they’re doing a good job because they’re told they’re doing a good job.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
The metaphorical pat on back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. Or conversely, to even know that they’re not towing the line in certain areas. Employees want to know that too.

Shep Hyken:
Be mentored and coached.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Rather than nothing.

Shep Hyken:
Right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
For sure. Well, Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, keynote speaker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, all around incredible guy. I want to thank you so much for joining us once again on the show. I know that our viewers and subscribers get so much out of your visits here with us. So thank you. And you’re probably a very busy man these days now with people going back to conferences and such, and everybody focusing on the customer experience and what it takes to win that customer over and keep them as a customer for a very long period of time. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule.

Shep Hyken:
Well, thanks for having me here and I plan to be back. I’ll be back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I’ll be back, there you go. Everybody, as I mentioned on the opener, get the book, just do yourself a favor, get the book. We’ve provided a link right underneath this video, so you’re a click away from getting you and your team in line with what delivering great customer service is all about from the pro himself that’s been doing it for a number of years. Thanks so much.

Shep Hyken:
Thanks for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks.


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