Episode 311:

No one needs to tell you that it’s easier and more cost-effective to keep existing clients rather than continuing to hunt and pitch for new ones. There’s an obvious need to genuinely nurture these relationships, but oftentimes this advice is more theory than tangible. It’s rare to find a clear game plan for creating lasting change that is simple, even if it’s not always easy. This conversation sheds light on that challenge and how to solve it.

Author and keynote speaker Shep Hyken is one of the world’s most well-known and well-respected experts on client service. He is dedicated to helping companies create customer experiences that bring them back over and over again. He does so with insights and gusto intended to challenge how you approach your crew, clients, and customers.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Shep and I discuss more than just the theories of creating good client relationships. In addition to talking about the need to create a sense of amazement and the downfall of settling for “fine,” Shep outlines the specific, tangible steps that can be taken to create a culture that is focused on the customer experience and how to make sure your clients won’t even consider looking anywhere else for what they need.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Client Service

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why it’s important to measure a client’s likelihood to return
  • How to create a sense of amazement with your customers and clients
  • The problem with “fine” in client service
  • The #1 culture-changing tool
  • A 6-step process for creating a culture that is focused on the customer
  • Precisely how to create an “I’ll be back” experience
“In the agency business, it’s so much easier to keep our clients than to constantly be churning and having to make presentations to new clients all the time.” @hyken Click To Tweet “Measure behavior not history.” @hyken Click To Tweet “The moment of magic is an interaction you have with a client that is better than average.” @hyken Click To Tweet “Fine is not fine. Fine is a 4-letter word that starts with ‘F’, and when it comes to customer service and experience, it’s the F-bomb.” @hyken Click To Tweet “Training isn’t something you did, it’s something you do.” @hyken Click To Tweet “If you’re going to do something similar to what your competitor is doing, figure out a way to make it your own.” @hyken Click To Tweet “When you say what you do differently and why should someone do business with you, it’s not your people, it’s your process.” @hyken Click To Tweet

Ways to contact Shep Hyken:

Additional Resources:

Intro:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome to Agency Management Institute’s Build A Better Agency podcast presented by White Label IQ. Tune in every week for insights on how small to midsize agencies are surviving and thriving in today’s market. We’ll show you how to make more money and keep more of what you make. We want to help you build an agency that is sustainable, scalable, and if you want down the road, sellable. With 25+ years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McClellan.

Drew McClellan:

Hey, everybody. Drew McClellan here from Agency Management Institute. Thanks for coming back and joining us for another episode. I think you’re going to be super happy that you are back for this conversation. So before I tell you a little bit about our guest and what we’re going to talk about today, as always, I have something to chat with you about. One of the things that I would like you to consider is, we have a workshop coming up in December called Money Matters.

And for two days, all we do is talk about money. We talk about how to make more money, how to keep more of the money you make, we talk about pricing and proposals, we talk about what I call agency math. And this is the math that is not taught anywhere in any school, but it’s math that allows you to take all the subjectivity out of your decisions because you have data. You have numbers, facts, that allow you to decide, can I hire a new person? Can I give somebody a raise? Are we as profitable as we should be? Where am I bleeding money? So we’re going to spend a lot of time on all of those, and we’re going to talk through all of it.

We’re going to talk about taxes, we’re going to talk about proposals, about how to upsell clients, we are going to talk about a variety of things that directly impact your bottom line and your personal bottom line. We’re going to dig into all of that for two days. It’s December 9th and 10th in Orlando, Florida, at the lovely Yacht and Beach Resort on Disney property. But this is one of the workshops where I will have owners walk up to me and say, oh, my God, why in the world did I not attend this workshop 10 years ago? I think about all the money that I could have saved, made, fill in the blank.

And my answer to them is, you know what, at least you’re here now. And so now you can make corrections and changes moving forward. So don’t be that person. Don’t be the person five years from now who walks up to me and says, Drew, why didn’t you tell me I had to be here? I am telling you now, this workshop … First of all, we have a money back guarantee. If you don’t like to workshop, if you don’t learn anything at the workshop, if you think I’m boring, whatever. I don’t need to know the reason. You just need to say to me, Drew, I want my money back, and we will give you all of your money back.

I will tell you that I’ve never had anyone say that to me. But if you want to be the first one because we really didn’t deliver for you what we promised that we would, I am fine with that. But I would love for you to join us, I would love for you to have this knowledge, I would love for you to be able to run your business differently in terms of being really clear about the decision making that you get to make when you really understand all of the math and the numbers. And also all the other things that I talked about before.

So anyway, I’m waxing on but I just I love teaching this workshop, because I can literally see in people’s faces like, … Sometimes people saying out loud, they’ll go, oh my god, I didn’t know that. Or, how did I not know that? So it’s fun for me to teach something that I know is going to be so valuable to the attendees. So I would love it if you joined us. So enough of that. I will hop off my soapbox. All right.

So today’s topic is client service and being very client-centric in the way that we deliver the work that we do. And the cool thing is, I have probably the world’s most well-known, most well respected expert in customer experience and customer service, Shep Hyken. And so if you’ve been around at all, you probably recognize Shep’s name, you’ve probably read one of his many books, you’ve probably seen him speak at conferences. He’s just the guru of this. And so he’s got a brand new book out called I’ll be back. And it’s all about how to create this amazing customer experience that brings clients back over and over and over again.

And so with that, I want to get right to it because I think you’re going to want to hear from him all that he has to share. And you’re going to find him to be a very generous guest. And so buckle down and get ready for lots of big tangible ideas that you can put into play right away. All right. Let’s get to it. Shep, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us.

Shep Hyken:

I am excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Drew McClellan:

I’m glad we finally got to this. So it’s great timing because you’ve got a brand new book coming out this week. And so tell everybody a little bit about your background and about the new book.

Shep Hyken:

Sure, sure. So I started off in my own business. And actually, I think I learned customer service from my grandparents or my parents. My first job was at eight years old, I worked at my grandpa’s pharmacy, I did everything. I painted the shelves, I counted pills, I did inventory, I did the cash register, learned how to interact with people. At age 12, I started a birthday party magic show business. And after getting paid for my first show, my mom told me to go write a thank you note to these very nice people who just paid me a lot of money and that’s really nice, I’ll do that.

And then my dad said, call them, get feedback, find out if you did a good job and ask what tricks they like. And if you do this enough, you’ll learn that there’s certain tricks that nobody talks about, get rid of them until people start talking about every trick that you do. Little did I know, that’s called customer appreciation, getting feedback and process improvement. And I’m learning [inaudible 00:06:04]. And so I thought it was a lot of fun to get into business and watch my business grow. I mean, within a matter of a year or so I’m doing weekends full of birthday parties and graduated on to working in nightclubs and eventually doing corporate events.

Graduated college, and what am I going to do with my life? And I saw a couple of motivational speakers. I said, entertainment background, I can do that and I love business. So I started writing this speech based on customer service. And it’s because it was what I was drawn to as a kid. That’s where it all started. And over the years, I’ve just expanded and continue to grow and create. And here we are today talking to each other.

Drew McClellan:

Well, you’ve created quite a name and a reputation for yourself in those years, so that you helped a lot of people think differently about the customer experience. So clearly it was a calling.

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. Well, thanks. And this book is number eight. I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again & Again. Originally, when I started writing this book, I started thinking about it just about a year and a half ago, right about the time we went into the pandemic. The I’ll be back theme had nothing to do with us coming back to business the way had all these … I guess the pandemic has created a lot of shutdowns, and now all the bands are being lifted and life is getting back to what looks like it could be normal again, at least in a lot of countries. Some countries are still struggling.

But regardless, the I’ll be back idea was a client of mine said we measure everything. We measure if people were happy, what they liked about the experience, et cetera, et cetera. But the one measurement that we look at most is how often they come back.

Drew McClellan:

Sure.

Shep Hyken:

That’s brilliant. And what I learned is what he was saying, and these are my words, not his, is it all of the surveys that we send out on a scale of one to five, were you happy or net promoter score on a scale of 0 to 10, would you recommend us? That’s measuring history. Now, history is important, because you can learn from history and you’ll learn what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. But that doesn’t measure a really important fact, and that is, does the customer, in our case, a client is what we typically call them, want to come back.

And that’s what we need to measure his behavior, tense I’ll be back. How to get your customers, clients, guest patients, whatever you want to call them to come back again and again. And in the agency business, I believe that we don’t … It’s so much easier to keep our clients than to constantly be churning and [crosstalk 00:08:45] presentations to come up [crosstalk 00:08:46] all the time.

Drew McClellan:

No doubt. That is for sure in our industry. So this is book eight. I don’t know about you, but after I finish a book, I’m pretty sure that I’m never going to write one again. And then it’s like having children, after a while you sort of forget about the pain and you decide to do it. But for me, what actually gets me to write the book is it feels like this is something that I can’t keep inside anymore, that people need to know this. So what was it about this book before you sat down and wrote it that made you feel like you had to write it?

Shep Hyken:

It’s like a big idea. And that big idea was measure behavior, not history. That’s my interpretation of what this gentleman was telling me. I think that’s bigger than an article. You can start with an article. But if you think about it, what is it that drives people to want to come back? I write quite a bit. I have a weekly column in Forbes, I write my own blogs, I write for other clients as well. And as a result, I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and new material. And I thought, well, I think I’ve got enough now that I can look at my foundational material which is in every book that I write, as well as a number of new concepts, or at least concepts that are hitting at a different direction.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Well, I think you did it. I mean, it’s a great book and I think it’s … What I appreciated about it was it’s sort of industry agnostic. As I was reading it, I was thinking, well, this would work for a dry cleaner, this would work for an agency, this would work for an accounting firm, this would work for anybody.

Shep Hyken:

Manufacturing, even the government. Yes, the government.

Drew McClellan:

That’s right. Okay. And even maybe the government.

Shep Hyken:

Yes.

Drew McClellan:

So one of the words that you use in the book that I think it’s just a great word, but you talk about this idea of creating a sense of amazement in our customers or our clients. Talk to us a little bit about that concept, what you mean by it, and how the heck do we do it?

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. So again, this is foundational. And it actually starts when I wrote my first book titled Moments of Magic. It was about how do you create a moment of magic? And the moment of magic is an interaction that you have with a client that is better than average. People think magic over the top, blow me away, make the Statue of Liberty disappear. No. This is simply a positive experience because it is magical when it happens consistently. So let’s go back to a book, or actually, it was an article that I read, many, many years ago, back in the 1980s when I started my business by Jan Carlzon.

Eventually he wrote a book which was titled the same as the article. The article is called Moments of Truth. And he defined the moment of truth in business. Today, there’s several different versions of what a moment of truth is. But his was, anytime the customer comes into contact with any aspect of a business, they form an impression. Now, his customer was a passenger, he was the president of Scandinavian Airlines, and was asked to take it over and was losing millions of dollars.

So he went into every city they had a presence, went into an airplane hangar, and he gathered everybody together. And he talked about this idea of the moment of truth. And he said, “You need to manage the passengers moments of truth, every interaction they have with us.” And he said if you’re not actually dealing directly with the passenger, you’re supporting somebody that is. So you need to manage that experience internally as well. That’s brilliant. And he said they can go two different ways, good and bad.

Now, back even at my young age, I recognized, well, good and bad, moment of truth could be a moment of misery if it’s bad, a moment of magic if it’s positive. But I also recognized the third moment of truth, which was a dangerous moment of truth, and that was the moment of mediocrity. That is the one that’s average, boring, just okay. How is it working with them? They’re fine. Fine is not fine. Fine is a four letter word that starts with F. And when it comes to customer service and experience, it’s the F bomb.

Drew McClellan:

You’re right. The complacency of it. Right.

Shep Hyken:

What does fine really mean? Fine doesn’t mean fine. Drew, I don’t know if you’re married or not. You married?

Drew McClellan:

Nope.

Shep Hyken:

No. Okay. Ever been married?

Drew McClellan:

Yes.

Shep Hyken:

Yes.

Drew McClellan:

And it turned out not to be fine.

Shep Hyken:

But at one point, I would imagine you said something like, I noticed something is a little amiss here. So you ask, is everything okay? And if your spouse said everything’s fine, that meant-

Drew McClellan:

You knew it was not.

Shep Hyken:

Not fine.

Drew McClellan:

That’s right. That’s right.

Shep Hyken:

Now, if you put an adjective in front of it like, hey, mighty fine, then you’re okay. But fine by itself. So fine is mediocrity. And the problem with fine or an average experience is people don’t complain about it. If somebody has a bad experience or they have something to complain about, even if it’s not “a bad experience” but maybe they need help, maybe they’re running into some problems, maybe they’re having an issue with an employee, well, that would be a complaint of sorts, letting you know about it is an opportunity to fix it. Okay. And move it from a moment of misery into a moment of magic, but average is not-

Drew McClellan:

And it also says I care enough to tell you about it, so I have some investment in you. But if things are fine, what it means is this is transactional to me, and I can find somebody else to do what you do.

Shep Hyken:

Right. So what you’re trying to do, and here’s where amazement comes in, it is the consistent and predictable above average experiences. In other words, moments of magic, consistent and predictable. This is what your clients are going to say. I love doing business with them, why? They always call back quickly. They are always so knowledgeable about my industry and about how to make me more successful.

Even when there’s a problem, I know I can always count on them. That we’re always followed by something positive puts you in that zone of amazement. And that’s foundational. That’s in every book that I write. There’s a chapter in how do you create amazement and how do you manage those moments of truth and create hopefully moments of magic with it.

Drew McClellan:

So in terms of sort of creating that consistency, that sounds to me like that requires planning. It requires lots of internal communication. It requires checks and balances, right?

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. You have to know if you’re doing a good job.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Well, and if you’re promising, even internally, if you’re saying, look, we’re always going to return phone calls or emails within 24 hours, you need to know that you’re actually doing that and that everyone is actually doing it.

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. So I’m going to share with you a tip. It’s not from this book, it’s from another book I wrote called Call to the Customer. This is the number one culture changing tool that we share with our clients. I have trainers that go out and deliver my content in a training format. But this is without a doubt the best thing that come out of it. It’s such a simple idea. And it is what we call the moments of magic card. And all it is an index card, where we give it to every one of our team members.

And we ask them, would you please write down an example of when you created a positive experience for either a client or an internal customer. Somebody you worked with, somebody that was dependent upon you. And it could be something as simple as a client called, I returned the call in 10 minutes, they were so impressed. Okay, that’s pretty simple. But it’s a great moment of magic, isn’t it? Or it could be an internal colleague saying I had a project, I was going to have to do this by myself, but Drew stepped in, and because of him, I was able to go home at a reasonable hour on the weekend. That’s a bigger … And it’s internal.

So here’s what we ask our clients to do, and by the way, we practice this in our office as well, everybody each week shares their moment of magic. And if you’ve got 150 people, or 1500, or 10,000, or whatever, you’re going to have to do this by departments. But if you’ve got a small team, it’s easy to do on a regular basis. And by the way, it needs to be done on a regular basis. And you can switch it up. You can do tell me about the positive experience this week, tell me about a negative experience you turned into a positive experience. Tell me when you recognize somebody was struggling and you proactively went to help them. You can change it up a number of different ways.

But what we’re trying to do, and here’s why it becomes an important culture changing exercise, is you’re trying to do it on a regular basis, and you’re trying to create something I call service awareness. And when you get people to know that, yeah, this would be a good one that I want to share, it means they’re starting to look at all the interactions they have and choosing which ones they want to share. Hence, they’re now aware. And they do that on a weekly basis. And by the way, you can switch it up. You can say, everybody, next week, we’re going to do an innovative idea.

It could be any idea that’s going to make our company better. It could be a revenue enhancing customer experience, it could be how to save money, it could be how to be more green. Any idea. And you want everybody to bring what I call a moment of innovation to work that day and share it with everyone. So then by the way, you don’t just listen to them, you compile the best examples. So for example, in a simplistic one, I had an employee here that kept saying, she didn’t do it every week, but it was pretty regular, which she would say, client emailed me and I responded in 30 minutes. They were blown away how quickly we responded.

She would say in that call back and whatever. And I started to recognize, I’ve always preached quick response is important, but I never put a definitive timeline. What does quick response look like? And to you and your organization, your industry, there might be different expectations than in mine. So you need to come up with what your minimum standard is. Like, nobody’s going to wait longer than 30 minutes to get a response from us on email.

Now, if it’s after business hours, it will always be within 30 minutes or the next. By the way, it could be three hours, I’m just giving you a number. Same thing with phone calls. Same thing with somebody sends you a text. What is the expected response time? And by the way, it’s important to teach your clients that that’s the expected response.

Drew McClellan:

Absolutely. Right. Otherwise, how do they know that you’re not getting out of the park?

Shep Hyken:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. And how do they know what to be able to count on. Yeah, yeah. So all of that, as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking, this is really about creating a culture internally of being very focused on the customer experience. So I know in the book, you talk about that, about creating a culture where everyone … Because consistently means everyone, every time. So if you don’t have everybody on board-

Shep Hyken:

[crosstalk 00:19:47] effort, you can’t have half of the people on the bus. It’s like, well, do I train everybody? Well, only train the ones that you want to deliver the experience. It’s like you go to the doctor or the dentist and you say to the dentists, do I need to floss all my teeth. And the dentist says only the ones you want to keep.

Drew McClellan:

Right. So walk us through from your perspective, how does one create this culture? How does one create it? And then how does one cultivate it? And how does one nurture it?

Shep Hyken:

Sure. So in the book, I talk about the culture challenge. But I want to break away from that for a moment, and I want to give you something that I would consider more of a process. It’s a six step process. And by the way, there’s a process in the book as well. But this is one that I think we can all wrap our arms around very easily. Number one, so here it is, for the clients that say we need to create the culture, I asked them, do you have a defining statement about what your culture is? Something simple. It’s not part of your mission statement. It’s not part of your values. It’s a true customer service or customer experience statement.

I’ll give you an example. The Ritz-Carlton has what they called their Credo. Nine words long, where Ladies and gentlemen serving Ladies and gentlemen. Great. Everybody understands it when they go to work there, and then they train everybody to the non negotiable standards to drive that defining statement. There’s an agency in Nashville, more technology base, but I love … I actually said you’re not a defining statement. I call them mantras. This is a passion statement. And this is what they teach everyone that works there. We love our clients so much, when we kiss them, their lips bleed.

It’s a little creepy. No, it’s that’s their passion. We love you that much. We are never going to let you down. That’s how much we want to take care of you. When I first wrote about this many years ago in one of my books, I even talked about the Beatles. Everybody has a North Star. So if you’re going to do customer experience or service, there should be a North Star. For the Beatles, their North Star was, I’ll see if you know. Are you a Beatles fan at all?

Drew McClellan:

No. I mean, I like their music but I don’t [crosstalk 00:22:04].

Shep Hyken:

Three words, bigger than Elvis. That’s what they wanted. Actually, John Lennon once made the mistake when he said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. That wasn’t a defining statement. That was a mistake.

Drew McClellan:

That was a PR problem.

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. But the whole bigger than Elvis thing was always the question they asked, if we record this song, is just the kind of song that’s going to help make us bigger than Elvis? If we go on this tour to Hamburg, is this going to help get us known so that we’ll be bigger than Elvis?

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Very singular in their focus.

Shep Hyken:

Right. And you need to create that singular statement that everybody can hold on to that is really special and memorize. It’s one sentence or less. Ace Hardware, the helpful hardware place. It’s an easy one. Anyway, that’s number one. And I’ll go through the next one’s much quicker. Number two is communicate it, communicate it, communicate it. Tell everybody all the time, they need to constantly be reminded. Number three, train everybody to it. And training isn’t something you did, it’s something you do.

So you might have an initial customer service type of training. And then to keep it alive, you use tools like that moment of magic card that I shared with you. You [inaudible 00:23:19] a lot of time on it. It could be a few minutes every week or so. And then if you wanted, like I have more than 600 videos on my YouTube channel, they’re free. And they’re called customer service tips. Imagine that. They’re five minutes long or less. And you can find those and you can play them at your meeting free. I love the word free.

Drew McClellan:

It is a good word.

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. But you’ve got to train people. Number four is as leaders, you have to be a role model. And that means you’ve got to act the part. Walt Disney had a great line, he called it stooping to excellence. When he walked into the theme park when he was alive, everybody knew there’s Mr. Disney. And if he walked by a piece of trash and just walked right by it, he basically gave permission to other employees, cast members is what they call them to walk by that piece of trash as well. But instead, he would stoop down, pick it up and throw it away. He called that stooping to excellence. He said it sets the example.

Drew McClellan:

Absolutely. I will tell you a funny story. So I’m a bit of a Disneyphile. I’ve been to Walt Disney World at least once a year since it opened in 1971. I think of it-

Shep Hyken:

Gone more than me.

Drew McClellan:

I think of it as my own. That’s my place. That’s home for me. I pick up garbage when I’m there.

Shep Hyken:

There you go. You have so much pride in the place.

Drew McClellan:

Yes, I do. I love it. I love to share it with other people. And if I see garbage, I can’t walk by it. I have to pick it up.

Shep Hyken:

Can you imagine if your clients felt that way about you. They come into your office, they’d see something amiss and they’d fix it or pick up the trash for you because they respect and admire you that much. But that was Disney’s philosophy, practice what I preach. I’m the role model. Yeah. Number five in this process is keep everybody in alignment. It’s easy with a small organization. When you get into huge, huge enterprise style companies that might have 50,000 employees, it couldn’t … Maybe it’s one person, but it could be a whole division or a region part of the world.

But our job is to manage and make sure our managers and supervisors know they need to make sure they keep everybody in alignment with your defining statement, your mantra. And finally, number six, when it’s working, celebrate it. Let people know they’ve done a great job. So define it, communicate it, train to it, be the role model. Number five, keep everybody in alignment. In other words, defend your culture. And number six, celebrate it.

Drew McClellan:

You make it sound very easy.

Shep Hyken:

It’s simple, not easy.

Drew McClellan:

There we go. Okay. And when something is simple, but not easy, what it requires is the commitment of leadership to stay the course. Right?

Shep Hyken:

Yep. It should not be the theme of the week or the theme of the year. This is an all the time rest of your life kind of thing.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Well, and when you think about in our industry, clients are so critical. And to your point earlier, turnover, it’s so expensive for an agency to get a new client, that … Even if customer service isn’t your jam, financially, it’s just a smart thing to do.

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. By the way, if it’s not your jam, you’re going to be jamming in the unemployment line.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah, right.

Shep Hyken:

I just heard this the other day. I’ve been preaching B2B, business to business, which is what we are, we are a service primarily to businesses, are now being compared to B2C. You say, come on, all these stats and facts that I come up with when we do consumer research, I tell my business to business clients, the numbers aren’t the same. But the concepts, what’s behind them, are exactly the same.

Drew McClellan:

Yes.

Shep Hyken:

The other day, somebody told me, a client, they’re getting ready to receive an MRI machine that’s a half a million dollars. And they said, you know what, when I buy a $10 book from Amazon, they at least email me to tell me it’s on its way, why can’t this company even give me that information? And I’m going, you’ve just been amanized or amazonized or whatever the word.

Drew McClellan:

Yep. I think that’s right. One of the things that I teach in our workshops when I’m working with AEs, who are really the customer service delivery tool for agencies, I say when everything is going according to plan, and you think, I don’t have anything new to tell the client, that’s what you have to tell the client. They want to know where we are in the process. Are we on time? And if you don’t tell them, then they worry. And then they micromanage you?

Shep Hyken:

I don’t know about you, but I fly a lot. I mean, that’s part of what I do. I travel all over the world, and I’m finally … It’s nice to be traveling again.

Drew McClellan:

Yes, it is.

Shep Hyken:

More and more. But this is what’s amazing, is I will sit at the gate. And I know my flight’s say at four o’clock in the afternoon, and it’s now 3:45. And no plane is there yet. And I know that it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get rid of, to deplane the people. That’s a funny word, deplane. I think [inaudible 00:28:29] the people from the plane. But you deplane the plane, anyway, and it takes another 15 or actually probably 20 to 30 minutes to get everybody on the plane. Of course, you got to clean it. There’s no way we’re leaving at 4:00.

But do you think the gate agent has taken even just a moment to pick up the loudspeaker and say to everybody, hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I noticed the planes not here yet. So here’s what customers want in that situation, and I’ve watched it, the gate agent, smart one will get on and make that announcement at about maybe 20 minutes to four o’clock. And this is what you see. Everybody’s paying great attention to this gate agent. And when the gate agent’s finished, they’re relieved, they have information.

Customers want information. Our clients want to know how we’re doing. Right now I’m working with a project with a graphic designer, and they were a couple of days late, and they never called or emailed to let me know that they’re running late. I just wondered, am I going to hear from them by this afternoon? Okay, maybe tomorrow morning. Maybe tomorrow afternoon. All you had to do is tell me and I’m fine. But don’t tell me and you’re creating anxiety, perhaps causing me to lose confidence in you. Lots of negative emotions, and things can pop up as a result of that. Something so simple.

Drew McClellan:

Right. Absolutely. The pace of business is so fast today. People say I just don’t have time or blah, blah. It’s like, then you have to restructure something because communication with your clients about what’s happening, whether you’re on time or not is not an optional activity. For sure. All right. I want to ask you the chapter in the book where you really literally walk us through how to create the I’ll be back experience. I want to ask you about that. But first, we’re going to take a quick break, and then we’ll come back and get it.

I’m sorry, but not really sorry to interrupt you, because you are going to be as excited about this as I am. The workshop Selling with Strategic Insights with Mercer Island Group is back. So we have taught this workshop twice, I’d say about 70 agencies have gone through it. And the whole purpose of this workshop is to teach you a framework to build your new business pitches for either prospects or even to upsell clients in a way that provides such great sort of vision into your insights, that you will knock the socks off of all the competitors.

I will tell you that I have four agencies that have attended this workshop, that since they applied this methodology, they have landed the largest client in their history. Those 70 agencies have already landed more than $50 million dollars of new AGI using this methodology. I can tell you because I don’t teach much, I’m in the back of the room kind of offering color commentary, this workshop is spectacular.

So if you want to start the new year growing your business, if you are tired of coming in second, if you are frustrated that you can’t win that big account that would change the game for you, you need to be at the Selling with Strategics workshop on January 25th and 26th in beautiful Orlando, Florida on Disney property. And I promise you, this can change everything for you. All right? And you’d be excited about it. All right, let’s get back to the show.

All right, we’re back. And we are talking about client service and client experiences and creating what Shep calls the I’ll be back experience. So in the book, you have a chapter that is really pretty much a here’s the template of how to do this. So walk us through what it takes to create an organization that has the I’ll be back experience.

Shep Hyken:

Sure, sure. And now so I’m giving away … I mean, I’ve been given away good content, but this is it, man, this is the real deal.

Drew McClellan:

This is why I waited till the end, because I wanted to make sure they stuck around.

Shep Hyken:

The final chapter, and it’s actually where I titled it Where the Rubber Meets the Road or something like that, I should probably look and confirm that. But that’s what it is, where the rubber meets the road. Here we are, a six step process. Imagine that. We got another one of these.

Drew McClellan:

It’s good to be consistent, right?

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. But really, it is six steps. Write these down and go through these and you’ll be blown away by the revelations that you get as a result of this exercise. And this exercise is going to take a while. So you can’t do it all in one day, you’re going to split it up. Here’s what you do. First thing is get a team together. And depending upon the size of your organization, I want you to not just get leadership, I want you to get people that are frontliners, maybe behind the scenes, whatever they do, get a sample from the group.

Drew McClellan:

Yes.

Shep Hyken:

And you’re going to ask this question, why would someone do business with us? It’s real simple. And that means us instead of them, whoever them is the competition. I don’t want you to say, we’re great at customer experience and service because that’s what everybody says. No. I want to know, what is it that you do? What makes you different? Is there an award that you’ve won? Is there a technique that you have? Is there a client … Like maybe one of the things that people say, why should I hire you, when I asked them who else they’re hiring, I simply don’t tell them about … I don’t need to say anything bad about them. I just need to know, here’s what I do that I think is different.

Maybe they’re looking at other speakers for their meetings, and they tell me. I go, well, if you want customer service or experience, this is my lane and it’s all I’m in. Those other speakers, they have different topics. But if this is what you want, I don’t know anything else. That may be a reason. Anyway. So define that, what is the reason. Number two, look at your competition and ask yourself, why would someone do business with the competitor? And really be honest about it. Why have you lost business in the past to any of these people? Okay?

And what is it that they’re doing that you’re not doing that you could be doing, which is step three, which is to keep pace. And that means you’re not going to copy them. If you copy them, you become a commodity, and then it’s just a matter of who’s got the better price or who looks better? I don’t know. But it’s you don’t want to be a commodity. So if you’re going to do something similar to what your competitor is doing, figure out a way to make it your own. Okay. Number step number four … By the way, again, you can implement as you go. But this could be a three-month process to go through this or you can try to do it all in a day and a half and map out a strategy.

Number four is to look outside of your industry. Who do you love to do business with? outside of your industry? Like, is it the shoe store down the street? Is it the restaurant that you love that you were at on your honeymoon? Is it somebody as big as Amazon? Okay. Why do you love doing business with them? What is it that they’re doing that makes you love them? Now, it’s really important that you get really detailed, and I want to spend a moment or two on this. Because I’ll give you an example.

By the way, Amazon almost always comes up in this exercise. Why do you … They’re convenient. Okay, what makes them convenient? Don’t just tell me … Get serious with me. Give me the details. You know what I love? I love that as soon as I push the order button, I get an email instantly telling me that my orders gone through. And a few hours later, my order is shipped. And they give me shipping information, tracking numbers. And then when it shows up, they even take a picture and they email it to me or text it to me to tell me that it’s there.

And you might be saying yourself, well, we’re not an e-commerce company and that doesn’t really fit what we do. But you’re missing the point. The point isn’t that they are an e-commerce company. The point is that they’re giving their clients or their customer information about-

Drew McClellan:

Step by step information.

Shep Hyken:

Yeah. And just like the gate agent that picks up the microphone and says, hey, everybody, the four o’clock plane is not here. By the way, I’m going to give you an update every 10 minutes so you know what’s going on. Everybody’s relieved and they don’t go bother the gate agent anymore.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Shep Hyken:

So important to look outside of your industry and look and read between the lines of what you’re hearing your people say. Now, once you have that you discuss, what can you implement? What are the ideas that are coming from outside of your industry that you can bring in? And I’ll guarantee you there’s got to be some, there always is. And finally, step number six is to go back to the very first question. Now, why would someone do business with me? And obviously, if you’ve implemented or started to implement, you’ll see some different opportunities to differentiate yourself.

Drew McClellan:

Is this a one and done exercise? Should we do this every so often? Like, what would you prescribe?

Shep Hyken:

I would say if you did it once … So there’s certain exercises that like the moment a magic card, you do it every week. Okay. But this is the kind of thing that you might come back and revisit competitors and industry leaders outside of your industry, maybe once every year. Because it takes a while to implement change. Some are going to be easy. It’s like, we should have been doing this all along. How fast can we pull this together?

Drew McClellan:

So would I do this exercise first, and then go back to the steps that you outlined for us on creating the culture? Because I would think you would want to have some of these stories and examples to-

Shep Hyken:

Great question. If the chicken-

Drew McClellan:

To help your people. Right. The chicken or the egg. Yeah.

Shep Hyken:

So I don’t think that you can get the most out of this exercise until you have a really strong understanding of what a good service culture is. So we must train people what good service is, what it looks like for us, we must use stories of other great organizations. That’s why I love to teach by telling stories. I mean, this is not a story book and none of my books are, but they’re filled with case studies throughout. So this book, I took a little departure from my typical very structured book, my last book, like The Convenience Revolution, six convenience principles.

I had one case study that covered all five, happens to be Amazon. And even though Amazon’s almost overused, it’s still an example that everybody can relate to because everybody’s experienced Amazon. But each of those six examples had five case studies. So there were 31 case studies in all. Well, here, I’ve got some best practices put in there mixed in with some case studies, mixed in with some strategy, mixed in with some tactic.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Shep Hyken:

But I would say, to your point, the original question, this six step process, I think there needs to be a pretty good understanding of what you’re all about before you get into this. I would say the first thing, first step is the six step process on building that culture. That would be more important.

Drew McClellan:

Right. Okay. All right. I could pick it this for hours, but I know that you probably have 12 more podcasts to get to because it’s been a busy week for you with the book launch. So any last thoughts that as you think about agencies today their competitors are everywhere. When I say to an agency, well, you know what makes you better, what makes you competitively better, a lot of times they’ll say, well, we have great people. And I said, “Do you really think that all the other agencies have hired all the schlubs and morons?”

Shep Hyken:

That’s the point. That’s why when you say what do you do different? Why should somebody do business with you? It’s not your people, it’s your process. Obviously, it is deliverables which are driven by your people. No doubt. But I’m going to make an assumption, you’ve got a good product, and you’re competing against other people that have good products. So what’s going to make you different? Why you, not them?

I go to a tire store. I remember, I called up these different tire stores to replace the tires on my car. And I got this old guy work … I don’t know why I called this, because you have your Firestones and Goodyears, and this guy said, “You’re calling around looking for prices, aren’t you?” He says, “Let me make this real easy for you. Call around. Here’s the questions I want you to ask everyone because these are the answers that you’ll get from me. And this is why I think we do things a little bit differently. And if anybody says no to any one of those questions, just knock them off the list.”

I was like blown away. He didn’t realize he was teaching the sales 101 at the same time. So he told me all the questions to ask. And I had to actually go back to the ones that I’d already talked to and ask, do you do this as part of the price? And they said, no, that’s more. I go, “Well, you didn’t tell me that when we talked a little while ago.” Guess who ended up getting the business?

Drew McClellan:

But he also changed the conversation.

Shep Hyken:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

It wasn’t about price anymore.

Shep Hyken:

It was about the advantage of doing business with him.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Interesting. Shep, this has been awesome. I know folks are going to want to grab the book. I know they’re going to-

Shep Hyken:

I hope.

Drew McClellan:

I hope so too. I think they will. I know they’re going to want to check out the YouTube channel and learn more about your work. What’s the best central hub for them to find all things Shep.

Shep Hyken:

Central hub, hyken.com, H-Y-K-E-N.

Drew McClellan:

Okay.

Shep Hyken:

Can’t be any easier than that. You can even freaking buy the book there. You can go to Amazon, buy it, wherever. But that’s the central location.

Drew McClellan:

That’s awesome. Thank you for being here. And thanks for taking the time to talk us through some of the concepts that you teach every day. And you’ve been teaching for a long time now. So I’m grateful that you carved out the time. Thanks for doing that.

Shep Hyken:

Thank you, Drew, for having me. I really appreciate it.

Drew McClellan:

All right, guys, this wraps up another episode of Build a Better Agency. And as always, as you know, I count on my guests giving you tangible things and things that you can put into place right now. You got two six-step processes that you should be implementing soon. So what I want you to do is I want you to take this podcast episode, I want you to gather your team together, I want you to have them listen to it. I want you to pull some of the videos from Shep’s YouTube channel, buy copies of his book, do whatever you need to do to get people to recognize that you’re serious about this.

Yes, your work is good. Yes, your people are good. But we all know that for our clients, one of the things that makes them go away, two things, one, when there’s friction in the process, and two, when they don’t feel the love. When they do not feel that we are committed to them, that we care as much about their businesses as they do, that’s when they start to have the wanderlust and they start looking for another agency. So you’ve gotten all kinds of very specific counsel from probably the world’s best known customer service and customer experience expert in the world.

So take advantage of it and fire up your team and recognize that this is something that really in our world is not optional. So I would love to hear what you do with some of this, how you implement it. You know I always love to get some feedback from you, and I look forward to doing that. So before I let you go, a huge shout out to our friends at White Label IQ. As you know, they are the presenting sponsor and have been for a couple of years. What they do is they do white label design, dev and PPC for agencies, and many AMI agencies swear by them.

So you can learn more about them and get a special, some free hours actually of their work if you go to whitelabeliq.com/ami. So check them out. And if you go, make sure you tell them that you love the podcast. Okay? Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening every week and I’ll be back next week with a great guest just like Shep to helping you make your business even better. So I’ll talk to you guys then.

That’s all for this episode of AMI’s Build a Better Agency podcast. Be sure to visit agencymanagementinstitute.com to learn more about our workshops, online courses and other ways we serve small to midsized agencies. Don’t forget to subscribe today so you don’t miss an episode.