Intrepid in the Pursuit of Customer Loyalty

Whether Driving a Taxi or Defending the Free World, Service and Loyalty Go Hand in Hand

As defined by, “intrepid” means “resolutely fearless; dauntless—brave, courageous, bold.” To hear customer service and experience expert (and bestselling author) Shep Hyken tell it, one enterprising taxicab driver in Dallas would certainly qualify as “intrepid” in the pursuit of customer loyalty. Having been blown away by a truly exceptional and memorable experience (“when was the last time you received a thank-you card from your cab driver?”), Hyken now knows who to call anytime he visits Dallas and needs a ride. It’s worth noting this driver is pulling in $100,000 a year in a market where most of his peers earn a small fraction of that.

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending one of our recent “Experiences Persona•lized” roadshow events, where Hyken was the featured guest speaker. The event took place at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, a decommissioned aircraft carrier decked out with numerous exhibits sharing and honoring the history of the United States Navy, various military aircraft of past eras, and the Enterprise space shuttle; a World War II-era submarine and the Concorde are also on display. If you’re looking for easy metaphors along the lines of “sending your frontline employees into CX battle,” “deploying all firepower in service of customer service excellence,” “defending the brand from poor CSAT and low NPS®” and so on, it’s pretty much the perfect venue.

Shep Hyken, author of The Amazement Revolution: Seven
Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer
(and Employee) Experience, among other notable books
for CX professionals

According to Hyken, businesses lost $62 billion in 2015 due to poor customer service, and the figure is trending upwards—not necessarily because businesses are providing poorer service, but rather because brands willing to go above and beyond (such as Amazon) continue to raise customer expectations for brands more broadly.

“Up to forty percent of satisfied customers don’t come back, because that’s not enough; there’s no excitement,” says Hyken. “Loyalty is the big prize, because loyalty is emotional.”

The value of “showing appreciation” for customers, and using it to drive customer loyalty, is something Hyken has understood since he started performing magic tricks at birthday parties, when he was twelve.

“I was making more than my teachers,” he recalls.

Hyken engaged attendees with some of his classic magic tricks,
honed over years of performing for loyal customers

Hyken also discussed the importance of CX professionals setting and maintaining reasonable expectations.

“Above average, all the time,” he says. “That’s the key. ‘Always incredible’ is unrealistic. According to a Northwestern University study, people find a 4.2-4.4 average customer rating more credible than a perfect 5.0.”

Hyken closed his presentation by discussing what he considers the ten most important factors any CX strategy should consider when pursuing customer loyalty:

  • Customers want an experience that is easy.
  • Knowledge is key. When your employees demonstrate expertise, it instills confidence in the customer. Confidence breeds trust, which breeds loyalty.
  • Customers want a friendly experience—to be treated like people.
  • Customers expect speed, whether it applies to delivery, responses, or any other facet of the experience.
  • Customers expect consistency. (Again: “Above average, all the time.”)
  • Customers expect personalization/customization.
  • Businesses have greater access to data analytics than ever before. Use it.
  • Provide self-service solutions when possible. Make it easy for customers to obtain quick answers to common questions.
  • Recognize social media as a legitimate avenue for customer care. Respond to customers via these channels, and quickly. “Because of social media, customer service can become a spectator sport.”
  • Focus on the employee. Ensure personnel is engaged and positioned to best serve CX objectives.

The proceedings concluded with a cocktail reception on Intrepid’s flight deck, the same flight deck that once withstood enemy fire (including multiple kamikaze attacks) and played a key role in the Allied Forces’ victory in the Pacific Theater.

If you’d like to hear Hyken’s lessons firsthand, learn how you can earn customer loyalty like a Dallas cab driver, or simply network with other CX professionals in your community, please register to join one of our upcoming events in a city near you.

Don’t forget: Next week is CX Day! We hope you’re planning on celebrating, and gaining new insights that’ll help you deliver winning customer experiences. Our webinar, “What Type of Customer Experience Leader Are You?,” can certainly help in that endeavor.