A Revolution In Customer Service
In The Amazement Revolution, an engaging new book on customer service, author Shep Hyken tells the story of a Web hosting company named Contegix that proactively uncovered and prevented an impending disaster for a client while the client itself was unaware of what was happening. One weekend, the Contegix director of key accounts was monitoring social media mentions of all his clients’ companies when he noticed a disturbing trend involving one of those clients, an online ticket agency. A promotion had led to a tidal wave of demand for free tickets that threatened to crash the client’s Web site. When efforts to reach the client for a server upgrade authorization were unsuccessful, the director of key accounts preemptively called in his engineers, who rushed to install the additional servers that kept the client’s site functioning. On Monday, Contegix informed the client what had happened during the weekend, and said that the client could pay for the new servers or refuse them. Contegix also said the rush installation and engineering over the weekend would be offered at no cost.
The Contegix story is one of the many case studies that exemplify what Hyken calls "amazing" customer service — customer service that is consistently and predictably above average. While a number of the ideas in The Amazement Revolution may be familiar to readers of customer service books, Hyken (whose previous book was the best-selling The Cult of the Customer) offers a framework that translates the key issues of customer service into seven actionable strategies, supported by more than 100 specific takeaways (with typical flair, Hyken calls them ARTs or Amazing Revolution Takeaways).
The Power of Partnership and FUN
The Contegix case study is a powerful illustration of Hyken’s third strategy: to cultivate a partnership with customers that goes beyond the traditional ongoing service relationship. The monitoring of the client’s social media mentions alone was beyond the duty of a standard Web hosting arrangement. Most Web-hosting companies would not even have learned of the problem until after the client itself noticed the issue — which would have been that Monday morning after the site had crashed over the weekend.
Another of Hyken’s seven strategies is for companies to "have serious FUN." The acronym stands for employees who are motivated in their interactions with customers by a personal sense of Fulfillment and of being appreciated for their Unique needs and skill, and the anticipation of the Next challenge.
As Hyken explains, if you engage your employees, they will engage your customers. Hyken’s other strategies include:
Provide Membership: Treat the people served by a company as members with an elite status rather than customers.
Hire Right: Hire the people whose personalities will best support the customer service experience. The key is to hire for attitude first, then worry about developing the right skills.
Create a Memorable After-Experience: Create a memorable, positive and even unexpected experience for customers after they have done business with you.
Build Community: Create a community of evangelists by listening to, supporting and respecting your most loyal customers.
Walk the Walk: Make sure every employee at every level of the organization consistently and without exception supports your commitment to customer service.
The cover of The Amazement Revolution features a stylized rendering of fireworks, effectively underscoring the celebration of great customer service in these pages. Some readers may see the cover illustration as cheerleader pom poms, which would be equally appropriate given the palpable energy and enthusiasm in this book.
The power of the book, however, goes beyond Hyken’s engaging vocabulary and style. The detailed organization and structure of the book offers readers easy access to scores of practical strategies, tactics and ideas, supported by 50 real-world examples.
Managers and employees don’t need sizzle, they need steak, and Hyken delivers.