A Review Of “The Cult Of The Customer” By Shep Hyken

How many of you enjoyed writing book reports when you were in grade school?  I would say I was generally indifferent toward them but always found them to be a wonderful way to recap and summarize the learning and insight from a particular book.  I recently had the pleasure of reading Shep Hyken’s “The Cult Of The Customer” and wanted to spend just a few moments sharing my favorite points with you.

In the book, Hyken first helps us understand that a cult isn’t necessarily a bad thing but rather a group of people “creating a corporate culture that is so focused on taking care of and tending to employees and customers that the culture itself creates evangelists.”   He goes on to describe the five cults starting with the “Cult of Uncertainty” where the service that customers receive is completely inconsistent and uncertain.  Without going into too much detail we proceed through the cults of alignment, experience and ownership all the way to the ultimate goal which is the “Cult of Amazement.”  In the cult of amazement customers can expect a consistently above average customer experience compelling them to become evangelists for the company.

One of my favorite concepts from this book is “The Three Forces.”  In this concept, Hyken shows how everyone can operate in the cult of amazement regardless of where they work and how many people they work with and for.  The first force is the “Force of One” where solo entrepreneurs like  Frank, the Cabdriver, can choose to amaze their customers consistently.  If you haven’t read the story of Frank, it’s an absolute must read.

The second force is the “Force Within” which is a charge to individuals to operate in the cult of amazement regardless of whether other not their colleagues are doing so.  It’s an empowering reminder that anyone can and should choose to provide consistently amazing experiences to their customers even if those around them are not.

The third force is the “Force of Many” where entire organizations operate in the cult of amazement.  Hyken cites examples from companies like the Ritz-Carlton, Zappos and Nordstrom who have engrained this into every aspect of their corporate culture.  Many companies are not at this point but if enough people within an organization choose to be a force within they truly can change the culture of their company.

After going into more detail about the five cults, the final part of the book is entitled “Amazement In Action” and is jam packed with story after story highlighting amazing customer service.  I have found this wonderful compilation of stories to be so inspiring that we read a story per day in our customer service team meetings.  Each of these stories inspires us on our journey toward the cult of amazement at Phone.com.

In conclusion, Shep Hyken’s “The Cult Of the Customer” has me thinking a ton about how we build a culture of amazement at our company.  There are a number of practical resources in the back of the book to aid in this process.  I am incredibly grateful for the wisdom Shep Hyken has shared within these pages and recommend that anyone who is serious about turning their customers into evangelists read this book.


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  • Jenny Dempsey

    Great book report, Jeremy! May the force(s) be with YOU! I definitely want to read book. Shep is truly full of wisdom and these “forces” apply in so many situations. I think Frank the Cabdriver is the one story that always sticks in my mind. I have yet to find one cabby that does anything close to this (and if I do, you can bet I’ll blog about it).

  • Honored that you were compelled to write such a positive review of the book. Thank you! Can’t wait for you to read the next book which comes out in about six weeks, “Amaze Every Customer Every Time” (http://www.AmazeEveryCustomer.com). I think you’ll find lots of great information and some new ways of thinking about creating customer amazement. Thank you again!

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