52 Tools From Shep Hyken To Inspire Amazing Customer Service

amazebookLike many households, Saturday is the day where we kick it into gear and get stuff done around the house.  On a recent Saturday, my son and I went to a local, large home improvement warehouse to pick up some retaining wall blocks for a landscaping project.

Other than the cashier, I was approached by two employees, neither of which asked if I needed any help.  The first person talked to me as I walked into the store and tried to sell me something, which I declined.  The second person asked if I was interested in solar power.  Only, she said it so quietly that I just kept walking.  As I walked away I heard her say “Oh, you’re just going to ignore me.”  Wow!  Excuse me if I want to shop at your store rather than listening to your sales pitch.

After loading our car with blocks. we headed home.  On our way, my wife called me to say the dryer stopped spinning.  With the confidence of one who had done that repair before, I headed to Coast Appliance Parts, my local appliance parts store, to get a new dryer belt.  Upon arriving at the store, I was greeted by a friendly cashier who quickly found the part I needed.  As she was searching, she noticed my son admiring the candy machines and handed him a quarter.  “Wait! Isn’t that going to eat into your profits?” is what I thought to myself.  Providing great service is one thing but taking an interest in my kid?  I’m a customer for life now.

This contrast in experiences instantly reminded me of Shep Hyken’s latest book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time.  In the book, Shep begins by reviewing the key principles of his customer experience philosophy of Amazement.  He then takes a refreshingly new angle by giving us 52 tools for our customer service and experience tool belt.  The clever part about the whole process is that he talks about Ace Hardware, sharing story after story of customer amazement.

With more than 4,000 stores worldwide, Ace is a huge company but nearly all of their stores are locally owned and operated.  I was fascinated to learn that they refer to their customers as “neighbors.”  Shep shares countless stories where Ace employees have treated their customers like they would a next door neighbor.  He shared one story of an Ace employee driving to a customer’s house to ensure they were buying the correct part for the project they were working on.  Another employee delivered an item to a customer’s house after work because the customer was elderly and could not make it to the store.

One of my favorite concepts from the book is the Five Dollar Lifeboat.  This simple idea is that employees have five dollars at their disposal with each customer to solve a problem and make the customer’s day.  What a fantastic concept for any company to adopt and a fantastic tool to equip your customer service staff with!

Another tool Shep gives us is the idea of owning our mile.  “Owning your mile means standing out within your customer community, in an area where you’ve chosen to excel.”  He goes onto say that for Ace it might be a physical radius around their store, whereas for other companies it might be a much larger area where they have chosen to stand out to customers.

Those are just a couple of the fantastic tools Shep Hyken gives us to amaze our customers.  We are using these tools at Phone.com to inspire and empower our team to deliver awesome service to our customers.  The stories in this book are sure to give you tangible ways to break out of your customer service rut and build customers who are loyal to your company.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

3 comments

  • Jeremy, you always impress me with how you and your company operate. Honored that you include some of the ideas from my books into your customer service strategy. Thank you!

    I’m going to share this with the great people at Ace Hardware. They will be excited to see how you are incorporating some of the “tools” in the book into your company.

    Thanks again, Jeremy. And STAY AMAZING!

    • Thank you for the encouragement and for the book Shep. You’ve had a tremendous influence on my work over the past couple years. I’m truly grateful!

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