Vince Lombardi was a great football coach.
But, he was an even more amazing leader.
Because, the Green Bay Packers coach held himself, his team and his coaching staff to a higher standard.
Lombardi demanded that the entire Packers organization have an unwavering commitment to excellence and consistency.
In fact, the values that he set forth were so impactful that their influence can now be felt outside of the sports arena.
Today, many people turn to Lombardi’s philosophies as they strive to become successful in business and in life.
Best-selling author and customer service expert, Shep Hyken, is one of those people.
Hyken holds himself and his staff to his own established standard of excellence.
He expects everyone at Shepard Presentations (including himself) to adhere to the mantra, “Always Be Amazing!”
I had the opportunity to sit down with Shep Hyken at #SmallBizCX19 to discuss his book “Be Amazing Or Go Home: Seven Customer Service Habits that Create Confidence with Everyone” and to talk about why developing positive customer service habits can turn a run-of-the-mill customer experience into an amazing one.
First, You Have to Know What Amazing Looks Like
Close your eyes, and imagine you have no idea how to swim.
Then, imagine being asked to beat Michael Phelps in the 400m breaststroke.
Obviously, this would be an insurmountable task. You would be set up for failure before the starting gun even went off.
It’s impossible to succeed at something that you don’t know how to do.
By the same token, people can’t recognize the right way to do things if they don’t know what the right way looks like.
That’s why Hyken believes that it’s important for customer service teams to understand the definition of amazement before they can actually BE amazing.
So, what does it mean to “always be amazing?”
The answer may surprise you.
“Amazement isn’t over-the-top. When people refer to a company as ‘amazing’ this is what they say: ’You know what? They’re always friendly…they’re always so knowledgeable when I call them. They’re always so helpful. That word ‘always’ followed by something positive means there is a consistent and predictable above average experience,” explains Hyken.
That word ‘always’ followed by something positive means there is a consistent and predictable above average experience.
– Shep Hyken
So, there you have it. Consistently above average service is what creates an amazing customer experience.
You might be thinking to yourself….’That’s it? Consistency?’
Well, no that’s not ALL of it. But, consistency is more important than many brands realize.
In fact, 75% percent of consumers expect consistent experiences across multiple channels, and 73% of customers are likely to switch brands if they don’t experience that consistency. (Salesforce)
One thing to keep in mind is that customer expectations change constantly. It’s important to stay informed and follow the trends as they can direct the nature of customer experiences businesses need to provide to stay relevant.
Being Amazing Means Being Proactive
Vince Lombardi made no bones about it. He expected his players to be on time.
But, in order for them to arrive at practice or the team bus on time, they had to arrive 15 minutes early…
“So, Vince Lombardi was this great football coach in the NFL…One of the things he did was he told all of his players, ‘Tomorrow morning practice starts at 9 in the morning. I expect you to be here 15 minutes early. By the way, if you show up on time, which is 9 o’clock in the morning, you’re 15 minutes late.’” explains Hyken.
“One of the things he did was he told all of his players, ‘Tomorrow morning practice starts at 9 in the morning. I expect you to be here 15 minutes early. By the way, if you show up on time, which is 9 o’clock in the morning, you’re 15 minutes late.’”
– Shep Hyen, on Vince Lombardi
To validate the importance of this concept, consider the following scenario.
You’re in a hurry. You have an important meeting to get to.
You pull up to your favorite coffee shop at 5:58 a.m. They open at 6:00 a.m.
Once the minute hand hits the 12, you’re inside at the counter.
All you need is your morning caffeine fix. You’re the first customer. You should be in and out.
The attendant looks up and says, “It will just be another 5 minutes. We just opened, and I just started the coffee machine.”
5 more minutes? If the coffee shop opens at 6, shouldn’t they be ready to serve guests at 6?
Let’s face it.
Amazing people aren’t just ready on time. They’re ready in advance.
They’re on “Lombardi Time,” if you will.
“Amazing people are proactive. They look at things, and they’re one step ahead of their job, of other people they work with…in support of their customers,” says Hyken.
Additionally, proactive service will go a long way towards improving your brand’s reputation among your customers.68% of consumers believe that proactive customer service increases their positive perceptions of a brand or company. (Richtopia) Click To Tweet
68% of consumers believe that proactive customer service increases their positive perceptions of a brand or company. (Richtopia)
How to Get to Amazing
So, how do you take your service from mediocre to magnificent?
Your journey will begin once you have achieved the following:
- You’ve hired quality people. 79% of employees at companies with above-average customer experience are highly engaged in their jobs, compared to 49% of employees at companies with average or below-average customer experience scores. (Gartner)
- You’ve trained those people to be amazing. Companies that invest in employee development see a higher income per employee of 218%. (ASTD)
- You’re actively being an amazing leader by creating a positive, inclusive culture. You lead by example and your decisions have a direct, positive impact on the employee experience. A study by The Future Workplace and Beyond.com found that 83% of HR managers see employee experience as either important or very important to their organization’s success.
As a leader, you will be the catalyst that triggers and directs your team’s customer experience transformation.
“[Amazing leaders] have a structure that they work with, and they coach and mentor others to that. They empower people to do a great job, and let them go out and try new things. They keep the doors of communication [open]…there’s no wall between them and employees. It’s a two-way, open-door policy,” says Hyken.
“[Amazing leaders] have a structure that they work with, and they coach and mentor others to that. They empower people to do a great job, and let them go out and try new things.”
– Shep Hyken on leadership
Remember, you represent your employees and your employees represent you.
And, collectively, all of you represent your brand.
Just like Lombardi, you have to hold yourself and your employees to a higher standard.
So much so, that “being amazing” becomes second nature (a.k.a. It becomes a habit.)
The Seven Customer Service Habits that Create Amazement
Every day you brush your teeth. (I hope.)
You’re so used to doing it that you don’t even think about it anymore. You just do it.
Without a doubt, that habit improves the experience of those that have to interact with you on a daily basis.
The best customer service teams develop similar routines.
They develop habits that are second nature, and those habits benefit their customers and the brand’s customer experience overall.
In fact, the secret behind Hyken’s motto “Always Be Amazing!” is his concept of the “7 Customer Service Habits that Create Confidence Within Everyone.”
These are the simple, everyday practices that can elevate your customer service game:
- Showing up ready to amaze
- Being proactive
- Craving feedback
- Taking responsibility
- Embracing authenticity
- Focusing on excellence
- Turning misery into magic
Of course, even though I’d like to, I can’t cover all 7 habits in detail within this article.
That’s why there’s an entire book on the concept. (Trust me. It’s worth the read.)
A Lesson in Lombardi Time
Curiosity got the best of me.
Before my interview with Shep Hyken ended, there was one question I just had to ask.
“Which of the 7 habits in your book do you feel is the most important for a customer service team?” I inquired.
I guess I should have already known what Hyken’s answer would be…
“It’s showing up on time and ready to go. One of the habits I talk about in the book is Vince Lombardi time or Lombardi time, as it’s traditionally called. It was a great habit to get into of having his players show up ready to play, and by doing that they had to get there early. Ironically…and how big and powerful was this concept? If you go to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, there’s a huge huge clock on the outside of the stadium and that clock is 15 minutes early, and when people go by who don’t know they [say], ‘that clock is wrong.’ No, it’s not wrong! It’s on Lombardi time.”
Watch Shep Hyken’s full #SmallBizCX interview below.