Empathy is the most important part of handling customers. In order to create an amazing customer experience, you need to understand the five customer experience phases. Thanks to Shep Hyken, you do not have to guess what your customer needs in order to feel understood. In his book ‘The Cult of the Customer,‘ he breaks down the five phases of customer experience and how you can use them to deliver a quality and satisfactory service.
In the interview, Shep Hyken briefly shares his insight at the Customer Contact Week in Nashville on how your contact center can deliver an amazing customer experience using the five customer phases.
Here is an edited script of my interview with Shep.
Shep Hyken: We are back.
Jim Rembach: We are back. So we’re actually at CCW Nashville. It’s 2020, however, when you start thinking about customer experience not everything is dated. Some things we have to go back, some tried and true things and Shep, I think that’s what you have to share with us an upcoming book titled ‘The Cult of the Customer.’
Shep Hyken: ‘The Cult of the Customer‘
Jim Rembach:‘ The Cult of the Customer’
Shep Hyken: And actually it is tried and true because that’s not a brand new book, that is a re-release with updated information, all new stats, and facts. There’s nothing statistically in there that should be older than a year or so, as we pulled news stats together. A lot has changed in the stats but nothing’s changed in the methodology of the way any company wants to deliver a great customer experience. So little background of the book and what it’s about?
Jim Rembach: Yes.
Understanding the customer ‘cult’
Shep Hyken: By the way, ‘Cult Of the customer’, ‘cult’ is not a scary word. Cult is actually if you look at the true definition of a cult, it’s not a bunch of religious or fanatics that are doing something, what some people term evil, no. A cult is a general group of people interested in the same content, same subject, same activity.
The group that gets together every Tuesday morning at the coffee house, this is when they always meet, is kind of like a cult. The group that goes hiking on a Sunday every morning, every Sunday morning is a group for years, that’s a cult-like experience. Cult which actually has a root culture in a company so it ties in.
Five customer phases that create an amazing customer experience
Anyway, five cults or phases the customers go through and this is really important in our industry to understand what they are and why we’re gonna move them from uncertainty to amazement.
Uncertainty, alignment, and experience
The cult of uncertainty is when a customer first comes to a business. They’re not certain. Maybe they heard about your great reputation but they haven’t experienced it themselves. So once they start to do business with us they are uncertain and then they’re going to get into alignment with what we promised them and then they’re going to experience what we promised them. So those are the first three. We want to move them into this really quickly.
Ownership creates amazing customer experience
Number four is harder, it’s the cult of ownership or the phase of ownership. This is when they are confident that it will happen again. If that great experience happened two or three times, the goal is we want to make it predictable and consistent, so the customer says, they always get back to me quickly. Whenever I talk to them they’re always knowledgeable, they’re always friendly, they’re always so helpful. The word ‘always’ followed by something good.
It’s predictable, it’s consistent, it’s owned at that point. And if it is positive, then it moves them into the cult of amazement. You know, those people are amazing. You know. And here’s the best part this is what applies to us, even when there’s a problem, I know I can always, there’s that word ‘always’ again, count on them.
Now, the first time there’s a problem they may be in that cult of ownership and may have been there for a while. But the moment there’s a glitch, they immediately moved back to uncertainty. Until you prove to them that everything they experienced thus far, even a problem stays in that owned experience, ‘always helpful,’ ‘always back to me,’ ‘always whatever’ and that keeps you in amazement. So eventually, even if there are issues they never fall back into uncertainty. They are that confident.
Jim Rembach: Oh and even as you’re talking Shep, I started thinking about, something about, we have to earn grace from our customers.
Shep Hyken: Yes, yes. And go-ahead and earn grace.
Jim Rembach: Well it’s just that we have to actually put in those points, put in those, you know, consistent, high performing types of activities and interactions. So that customers know that, hey, they did mess up but however, that’s not the norm.
Amazing Customer Experience Through Ownership
Shep Hyken: It should never be the norm. You know, you could go for ten years and never have a problem and the first problem, that’s like judgment day. But there are certain types of big software companies, for example. There are going to be glitches, there are going to be problems. It’s how fast we take care of them.
If you submit a support ticket, somebody’s gonna back in forty-eight hours, I want you to know this, the moment they submit that support ticket or the moment they contact you, even if they’re going to call you and talk to you directly or chat or whatever it is, that’s not when the problem started. The problem started when the problem actually started and then there’s this gap between when it started and where we are right now.
And that’s why I think so many people realize, the problem didn’t start the moment we got on the phone with them or the moment we responded to them, no. It happened much sooner, so we need to prove ourselves over and over again. And once again, I really love that cult of ownership. I almost think that even though we want them in amazement, if we can always create the predictable and consistent above-average experience, they’re gonna think of us as amazing. That’s where you want to be. That owned place.
Jim Rembach: Most definitely Shep Hyken, as always, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom.
Shep Hyken: Thanks for having me.
Jim Rembach: Hey, you’re welcome.
Shep Hyken: Also, The Cult of The Customer, get it today because this is the cult you want to belong to.
Jim Rembach: Most definitely.
- AMAZING! Understanding these five customer phases will improve your contact center perfomance.- Click to Tweet.
- Got a CULT? This book will help you create an amazing customer experience.- Click to Tweet
- Without these five things, your contact center is prohibited from delivering great customer experiences.- Click to Tweet
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.