How to Win More Repeat Business by Improving the Customer Experience

Customer experience expert, New York Times best-selling author, and international keynote speaker Shep Hyken, has released new research into the state of customer service and experience called the A.C.A or Achieving Customer Amazement Study. On today’s show, Shep joins anchor Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss the study’s surprising findings.

To get your copy of Shep’s latest book, “I’ll Be Back,” visit IllBeBackBook.com or find it on Amazon.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Welcome back to the show Shep.

Shep Hyken:
Hey it is great to be back and I hope after this, you’ll still say, come on back. So I could say I’ll, I’ll be back again.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. And all of your books are phenomenal.

Shep Hyken:
Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I thank you so much for the time and all of the content you give us here on the show. We very much appreciate it. The last time we spoke, you discussed your newest book titled I’ll Be Back, but switching gears, you have new research detailing the state of customer service and experience right now, talk to us about ACA or Achieving Customer Amazement study, which I love. What are some of the key findings?

Shep Hyken:
Sure. So the idea is a couple of years ago, I said, “you know what? I keep quoting everybody else’s stats and facts. I think they’re right. Let’s confirm it.” Number one, as an expert recognizing my field shouldn’t I have my own research?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
So we hired a company to go out and interview thousands of consumers. So we have at least a thousand consumers and granted it’s a consumer report, but even if you’re in the B2B world, the numbers may be a little bit different, but the concepts 100% apply.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Shep Hyken:
So you’re dealing with different ages, you’re dealing with different income brackets, you’re dealing B2B, B2C really expectations of what customers expect are higher than ever before.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
And the main reason is they’re comparing us now to great companies that aren’t even in our industry, the Amazon experience, the Netflix experience, why can’t every company be as easy to do business with as they are.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Exactly.

Shep Hyken:
And it’s crossing over into every area.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. For sure. So does age really make a difference in customer loyalty?

Shep Hyken:
Oh, definitely. It makes a difference. It’s not so much that it’s what makes a difference in customer loyalty, as much as does a customer come back, we can determine loyalty based on emotional connection. But repeat business to me is where loyalty begins.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay.

Shep Hyken:
So what do we do to get customers to come back and what do we do to prevent them from wanting to go somewhere else?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
And if you take a look of what’s important to different generations, and we looked at this research and we took a cross section of the U.S. Census. We looked at age, we looked at ethnicity, we look at geography, we look at gender. We even take a look at income.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow.

Shep Hyken:
Which you’ll find that, are customers willing to pay more for great service? And you would think that lower income people might not be willing to do so the Gen Zs who are up to age 25 or so that are they really willing to pay more money? I mean, they just got out of college, they’re in college. Why would they spend believe it or not? It’s really important. And they will spend money for the right experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. So what are some of the findings that surprised you or cause for concern?

Shep Hyken:
My favorite finding, this is a great one and I could break it down by age, but we don’t need to, is that we asked, would you rather go to the dentist or call customer support?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Love it. That’s great.

Shep Hyken:
48% of the people that we interviewed felt that I’d rather go to the dentist.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
The epic call customer support. Now this is much bigger than just customer support. This is about the total experience and what we found that people wanted more than anything are they want employees that are knowledgeable about their products and services. So whether you’re talking to a salesperson, whether you’re talking to somebody you’re calling for support knowledge, they want people that are helpful and kind, oh, this is really important. They want to easily be able to reach the right person.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yes.

Shep Hyken:
When they have a question.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yes.

Shep Hyken:
Not just a complaint, but a question. They want, and by the way, I’m giving you these in order of what ours findings determined.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. So let me ask you on that last one where you said they want to find the right person, should we underscore the word person versus AI on that? Because I love AI and you can kind of flow through and I want to get to this, I want to get to that and I want to do this, but there’s comes that time when you’re just screaming representative, representative.

Shep Hyken:
Representative agent. And I actually crack up when I hear somebody in the next office over screaming that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
There’s a great stat in here that, let me find it for you. And by the way, if anybody wants this ACA report, just go to my website, Hyken.com, download it for free. I believe if you go to Hyken.com/2021-aca.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay.

Shep Hyken:
That will get you the report. You don’t even have to give me email address. If you go to my website you have to sign up for it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow. That’s great customer service right there.

Shep Hyken:
Yeah. You know what? We’re not trying to hide it from anybody. And I think the more people that have it and look at it, the better. Here’s what’s interesting, 41% of people will go to a website before they pick up the phone. Now that’s not just to find an answer. It could be to find the phone number of what they’re looking for.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Shep Hyken:
And here’s my take on what you just asked. We can send them to a digital first experience. And for example, Amazon wants you to go online and want you try to get your problem resolved digitally before you talk to somebody.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
But they still make it really easy for you to connect with a human if that’s what you want. As a matter of fact, it’s so easy that they say, you still want to talk to us, put your phone number in here and we’ll call you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
And about the time you push enter your phone rings and there’s somebody on the phone.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
Talking to you. Wow. That’s amazing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
And they’re extremely helpful.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
So what we’re really looking for is a transition from digital to human if and when needed.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
However, we see more and more companies trying to get their customers to go digital first. Two reasons or two ways to make that happen. Number one, create a good digital first experience. Make sure that when somebody goes to your website and they’re searching for information, there’s a good knowledge base, which could be your frequently asked questions.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Shep Hyken:
There’s maybe video tutorials on how to best use your product or answer questions. And if not, give me a seamless and easy way into getting to a human.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
For support. So as long as you do that, you’re going to win. But 41% of customers choose to go digital first.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay.

Shep Hyken:
Which is important to know.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Shep Hyken:
So hopefully that gives you some insight there.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yep.

Shep Hyken:
So convenience and hassle free comes right after that. And to me, that’s kind of the same. Fast response, if I email you, if I tweet to you, if I do whatever I expect you to get back to me pretty quickly.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
Depending on the type of company, delivery, that’s important. They want empathy and customers expect empathy. And by the way, and the last on the list, but don’t be fooled by this, is a personalized experience. In other words, do you know me?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
Do you make me feel like I’ve been a customer before as opposed to the very first time? Wouldn’t it be nice if I called you, you answer the phone and you say, “Hey, welcome to our customer support. Is this Mr. Hyken? Yeah. I recognize the phone number.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yep.

Shep Hyken:
Boom. Okay. “Hey, I noticed that you’ve oh, thanks for being a customer for the last 12 years.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
“You know, I noticed you don’t call here very often. What are you looking for today?”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
You know?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
You’ve just sucked me too. Like I call it the Cheers effect in the new book I’ll Be Back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right, everybody knows your name.

Shep Hyken:
Everybody knows your name.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s so true. And I know I’m responsive to that. I will tell you Delta airlines, I called yesterday and I all I want to know, we already bought the tickets, and all I want to know is what’s involved in bringing our small 20 or 18 pound dog on the plane and that’s all, and they don’t give you the information really on the website. So I called and don’t you know, they said, well, we’ve changed some things up on our telephone program here so bear with us or whatever, let us know at the end of this conversation, we want to take a one word or one question survey. I waited on the phone, Shep, for 27 minutes to talk to somebody. I couldn’t wait any longer.

Shep Hyken:
Oh no.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I had to take this other call. I couldn’t wait. I felt so like, oh my God, I’ve been hanging on for 27 minutes. I just took my phone, put it on speaker and set it down. And every so often somebody with that voice would come on.

Shep Hyken:
Your call is still very important to us.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. That’s the one. And I’m thinking to myself really, 27 minutes. Prior to that, I called early in the day it was 12 minutes. I couldn’t hang on any longer either. I don’t know what Delta’s going through. And I love Delta. It’s like, come on, you’re my airlines. I love you. I live in Atlanta. So I don’t know what’s going on.

Shep Hyken:
I don’t know either because Delta, that’s not like them.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
They didn’t give me the opportunity to say, is this a number that we can call you back at, we’re happy to do that.

Shep Hyken:
Which surprises me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
They never gave that option.

Shep Hyken:
Right. And they should because the technology and by the way, I’ve experienced where I’ve called companies and had that technology where they will call you back when it’s your turn or you could even put in another time that’s more convenient.

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

Shep Hyken:
Yeah. That technology is very inexpensive, but I have called companies and had that technology and then the next time I call it wasn’t offered. And I wonder if there was a glitch, something broke down.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
But that’s the kind of thing that frustrates customers. And if you take a look and I know we’re getting off of the personalization thing, but by the way, even though personalization was the last of these, as far as what’s important, keep in mind that when we ask customers, what was important, what I just mentioned was either very important or important versus not important.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
You know it ran spectrum. But if you make the mistake, how quick are customers willing to leave to do business elsewhere? And what we found is that 83% of customers will switch because of one bad customer experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
83%.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow.

Shep Hyken:
And that’s important to know.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That is really important to know.

Shep Hyken:
That number fluctuates. Last year when I did the report, it was a little bit higher.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
And I’m sure when I do the reporting again next year, we’re going to see a little bit different number, but I just want to know, even if it’s 80%, 90%, 70%.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s huge.

Shep Hyken:
Are you willing to lose even half of your customers because of a flaw in what you would perceive as almost common sense? I get it if there was an issue and you just couldn’t get it resolved.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
But those are really fewer and further between.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Also, it lets companies know, and those that are listening that we don’t have the luxury. We cannot afford to have any of our employees or associates, team members, call them what you will, to have a bad day with our customers.

Shep Hyken:
Right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And as Managers, if you identify that somebody’s having a bad day or has got an attitude or going through some personal stuff or whatever, you don’t want it to cause your company to lose clients because that associate, albeit may be a great employee that’s been with you for 10 years. You got to get them off the front lines when the front lines might be the showroom or the phones or whatever the case might be. Don’t just brush it off because that’s a great stat, 83% will say I’m not doing business here again. And because of the experience that they had with that employee, with that company.

Shep Hyken:
I mean an 83% number, it’s like, oh wow, that’s pretty amazing. And it’s very revealing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
And as you look at the different age, because you asked earlier, does age make a difference?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Shep Hyken:
You know, age makes a little bit of a difference.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay.

Shep Hyken:
But overall 83% is 83%. That’s Latin, depending upon what demographic you’re targeting. You’ve got your Gen Zs, which are young, then you’ve got your millennials, you’ve got all the way up to the boomers.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
And when you look at the cross section, this is really important, in America today consumers 18 to 25, that’s your Gen Z, and millennials age 26 to 44. By the way, millennials are 40% of the population right now of your typical customers. But you add those two together, 58% over half of your customers are potentially under the age of 44.

Shep Hyken:
Then you’ve got Gen X, 20% and boomers are 22%.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
So you’ve really got to take a look at who your customers are. If you’re in B2B world, somebody who’s, if you’re selling to seasoned people in an industry, there’s a pretty good chance are a little bit older.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Shep Hyken:
If you are selling to a consumer, what’s your market? I know Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t really cater to my age, but that’s okay, I still love going in there and that’s buying some of what do they sell and feeling young.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Hey, I don’t want you to get out of here without giving us a little bit of an insight on your book. That’s coming out in September, titled I’ll Be Back. So tell us what the reader can expect. There it is. I love it. I’ll Be Back.

Shep Hyken:
Terminator font.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
How many times have we heard that? And that’s what we want all of our customers to say, right? I’ll be back.

Shep Hyken:
We do. I’ll be back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
The first time Arnold Schwarzenegger used it in the movie Terminator, he came back to blow up the police station. But after that he used, I’ll be back in a number of movies and it was always like, I’ll be back. And that’s a good thing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
My favorite is when him and Bruce Willis were in a movie. Bruce is like my alter go.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Okay.

Shep Hyken:
He and I both same hairline. We kind of look like brothers from different mothers. Anyway, Arnold says to Bruce, “I’ll be back.” And Bruce says, “you said that before, so I’ll be back. It’s my turn to say, I’ll be back.” Something like that. So anyway, I digress. This book is all about getting your customers to come back again and again, and I’ll Be Back, the subtitle is How To Get Customers To Come Back Again and Again.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
And we took a look at what was important. I talk about the most important measurement in business. We want to know was a customer satisfied. Did they like the experience was the service, great, whatever we can ask of questions, but that’s a history lesson. That’s what happened on the last experience or whatever happened behind us.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
What’s going to happen forward. We can learn from that history, by the way, you still need that data. So you still need to ask that question, but the most important question I want you to consider is does the customer actually come back? What’s the behavior of that customer.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
And it wasn’t that long ago, several years ago I was working with a client and he said, that’s what we measure. And I said, explain that to me in more detail.

Shep Hyken:
And he said, we know what a regular customer looks like.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
It’s that simple. And we have several different types of regular customers.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Shep Hyken:
And we determine what this customer is going to fall into, which bucket of regularity or loyalty, if you will. By the way, we can talk if you want about loyal versus regular, but repeat business is key. And he said, we need to understand the cadence of our regular customers. And then we need to move this new customer into that cadence. And when we can get them to behave like a regular customer, we know we have a repeat customer.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
Next step is to make them a loyal customer. So the competition can’t take them away.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
So that’s really important. The stats and facts in this report that we started out talking about will help you make decisions on how important service and experience is to your business and decide, is it worth investing in.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Shep Hyken:
And you should understand what it is. Are your customers happy? What does it take to get them to come back? What’s your churn rate? Meaning how many customers do you lose every year? And then you have to make up for them. And hopefully if you want to grow, you’ve got to increase that number that you currently have.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
So keep that in mind as you go through this report, as you read the book and I love the book, I’m excited, somebody said, there’s so much information in here. So many ideas, and I thought, yeah, you can open almost any page and find an idea. And at the end of every chapter are questions that you can sit down with your team and talk about.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Shep Hyken:
So love it. And I hope everybody goes out and buys it today.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, keynote speaker, New York Times best selling author, Wall Street Journal best selling author as well. And we love you here at the show. So thank you so much for joining us once again.

Shep Hyken:
All right, I’ll be back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
There you go.


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