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A great conversation with Shep Hyken!

Below find our conversation video transcripts and pictures.

Ricardo: Our guest today is the amazing Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. One of the best speakers around the world, his articles have been read in hundreds of publications. He’s a contributor for “Forbes”. He’s the author of “Moments of Magic,” “The Loyal Customer,” ” Wall Street Journal,” and USA Today best-seller, “The Cult of the Customer,” and more recently he published a book that I really love, “Convenience Revolution.” He’s also a creator of the Customer Focus program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

Shep Hyken had been advising for American Airlines, AT&T, AETNA, Abbott Laboratories, American Express, and many others. I must mention that due to Shep Hyken 2005 books, I personally got involved in customer experience and until today he is influencing millions of people. Without further ado, Mr. Shep Hyken is here with us today.

Welcome to the “CX Human Lab”. Today we have the amazing Shep Hyken with us. Shep, thank you very much for coming here to visit us today.

Shep: Thank you for having me.

Ricardo: You cannot imagine such big pleasure to have you here. Shep, I observed that throughout the years that you are a big fan of the hockey St. Louis Blues. can you clarify this story because it’s unclear. Did you play for them in the past?

Shep: I had one night that I got to play. Image source:

Ricardo: Oh, one night.

Shep: One night. I played hockey when I was a kid for one year, one season, and then didn’t play again till I was about 30… actually, 40 years old. And I put on skates. I hadn’t skated since I was a teenager, and I immediately fell in love with the sport again.

So I started playing, and I signed up for hockey camp. And this was a fantasy camp where you got to play with professionals. And then one night, the St. Louis Blues, who’s an NHL professional team auctioned off a spot to an amateur to play in an exhibition game against the Chicago Blackhawks. And I thought, “Well, that’s probably fun, probably crazy. I could get killed that night,” but I ended up being the highest bidder.

So I actually showed up to the rink three hours early, you know, worked out with a trainer, got all loosened up, put my clothes on or my equipment on with the rest of the team, and I’ll never forget as I was getting ready to walk out on the ice, I wanted to surprise my kids. And my kids always stood where the players come out onto the ice to get autographs and hopefully they’ll throw them a puck or something.

And the guy behind me, his name is Tony Twist, who’s one of the favorite players at the time with the St. Louis Blues, said, “Hey, the rookie goes out first.” Well, I was older than all of these guys in age. By that time, I was probably in my mid to late 40s, maybe mid-40s. So I walk out, I look up, and there’s my kids. That was the first thing. And Tony had said, “You got to take a full lap around the arena and then the rest of the team will come out. That’s what a rookie gets for the first time they play.” And I went, “Well, this is really cool,” and I just went out and did my thing, but what a great night that was.

Ricardo: Yeah, I saw also the pictures of you taking the flag and waving it.

Shep: Oh, yeah. Our St. Louis Blues finally won the Stanley Cup, and I was actually in the parade with the players carrying a flag. And it was pretty special, pretty special.

Ricardo: Yeah, I can’t even imagine.

Shep: One of the greatest days. I say my wife, getting married to her, having kids, and the Blues winning the Stanley Cup.

Ricardo: Such a different comparison, but I understand you. You’re a fan so that’s the important part. What hobbies changed during this time now? Before, what was your hobbies in the majority of time, sports and things that you like to do? I know that you play guitar. I can see the guitars from here.

Shep: Yeah, I play guitar.

Ricardo: And what else in terms of sports? What were you doing and what you are doing now in this pandemic?

Shep: Yeah. You know, for a while there, we couldn’t play hockey. Now they’re letting people… Even after COVID-19, they’re starting to let teams play as long as it’s a limited number of people on the team. You can only have five people on the bench, which means there’s only one sub for everybody on the ice. Everybody’s really distant. But I play tennis. I play golf. I practice magic tricks. I do card tricks.

Ricardo: Yeah, I know that.

Shep: I play guitar. I’m seldom bored.

Ricardo: Yeah, but that’s cool. You do so many things, artistic things. It’s very nice. And also I like the way the history in how you started with magic and how you become the Shep Hyken that we know today. I know all the history but…

Shep: Thanks. So here’s what’s funny. People ask: why did you stop playing hockey at age 12? So I was doing magic shows. I started doing magic shows for birthday parties, and I was playing hockey. And that’s a lot for your parents to drive you around plus I had a brother and a sister.

So my parents got divorced when I was 12 and my mom said, “You can do one outside of school activity. You could be on the sports team or do whatever you want. The clubs at school. But you can do one outside activity.” And she said, “Shep, it’s either hockey or magic. What do you want?” I thought about it. I go, “Magic.”

And so if I hadn’t done that, number one, I probably would never have made the professional sports of hockey, but that magic was really… I started my own business back then, doing magic shows for birthday parties and eventually adults, but also I was on stage. And today a big part of my living is made… Well, when we go back to having meetings again, we’ll be on stage presenting to people, and I believe that all those years from the age 12 all the way through the time I started my business just out of college, being on stage performing is the same as being on stage as a speaker, and it really set me up for better success.

Ricardo: Yeah, it prepared you for being in front of people and I think that’s a difficulty that I have some times.  Since I’m not Shep Hyken. One day I’ll have to first cut my hair and be like you, and maybe I’ll get there one day.

Talking about the pandemic, I would like to ask you, what will be the change you can foresee coming from the pandemic? Paint, imagining, and just consider that 70%, 90% of efficiency or maybe 50% as Dr. Fauci said that is the worst-case scenario. What will be the world for us after this mess that we are in all together?

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Shep: Sure. Well, no doubt major changes have taken place. You know, and I talk about customer experience and service, so that’s the angle that I’m coming from here. No doubt a lot of changes took place. Well, let’s talk about what really happened, okay, as far as not the pandemic itself but the effect it had on business.

What’s happening today, all of the automation, the digital transformation, the new processes that companies are using, it’s not innovation that took place in the last five or six months since middle of March when everybody had to start shutting down. No, these were innovations and inventions and processes that were available to us prior to the pandemic that we as companies have been forced to adapt and adopt to.

And what the pandemic did is it put us three to five years into the future. You know, you and I before the pandemic jumped on Zoom calls and we interviewed each other or we communicated with each other. Well, you know, all you have to do is look at the stock price of Zoom lately to know it’s not only done well but what happened people who never heard of Zoom…

Ricardo: 1800% the increase that they have and it’s amazing. ”Fact check”: Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) was one of the hottest growth stocks of 2020. The video conferencing platform provider’s stock started the year trading in the high $60s but skyrocketed to nearly $570 a share by October after the pandemic turned the company into a household name. The real growth was 950% for zoom during the pandemic.

Shep: It’s that unbelievable. People before the pandemic, a lot of them never even heard of Zoom. They didn’t know it was here. Now, this is a new way of life. It was just something that was pushing us into the future.

So, in a twisted kind of way, I think that… Sure, the pandemic and COVID-19 is destructive. It causes deaths. It’s hurt economies. It’s put people out of business. But the other thing it’s done is it may have made business better for the future, okay?

Ricardo: I’m with you.

Shep: And, you know, I’m one of these very optimistic people that says, you know, the stars can’t shine unless there’s darkness, right? And so we have to look for the light and the positivity in a lot of what’s happening. And I know my business has… because so much of my business was going out and presenting live on stage to, you know, people all over the world, well, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do that again. It might be next year, if I’m lucky, but in the meantime, I’ve lost 70% of my income and a lot of people in my business have had to go out of business. I’ve figured out ways to sustain.

Every single week I’m doing, aside from the interviews, paid engagements where I’m hired to do virtual presentations. It’s not the same. Maybe I’m talking to an audience. Just yesterday I had a very high-end audience of 24 high-level executives and major brands and the client hired me to do basically what you and I are doing, wanted to drill me with questions and hear my answers. And then of course the audience got to do the same. That’s a totally different experience than I thought I would ever be delivering this year, but frankly I kind of like it.

Ricardo: Because it is. It’s great that you adopted. That’s a great ability as well. Many people didn’t.

Shep: And there’s a restaurant that’s just about 2 or 3 miles away that a friend of mine owns that was forced to shut down, and then he noticed that grocery stores could stay open. So you know what he did? He took all the items that went into the food, and he sells them as grocery items that you can go home and prepare yourself. And it gives you the recipes, and all the breads, and the meats, and whatever… His restaurant is back open, it just looks different. Now it looks like a little mini-market than a restaurant.

So you’ve got to learn to adapt and adopt, and not everybody’s going to be able to do it as easily as others, but there’s some way to make it work. It might be a struggle and it might be tough and you might have to let people go. You might have to run lean. You might be out of balance for a while, but there’s a way to make it happen.

Ricardo: I agree with you. Yeah, everybody has to adopt. Just talking about exactly this transformation and adoption, here in Germany, there was basic shops… Even in, like, one mile from here, we have a pharmacy in the corner, and they did not have anything in the internet. I was stunned. Now they have a basic thing. You can order through internet. I have an app that I can order the things that I need. The adaptation was very fast but was forced as you said.

Shep: Yep, it’s technology that was already there. It wasn’t an invention to make it happen.

Ricardo: Exactly. And the important thing is that the people start to adopt because Germany works very… They say the old continent, correct? An old content is really like… you know, because the people work in slow motion all the time. Everything is in slow motion. Like, everything is okay. I don’t want to change it. I want to live like that. If you have a change, the people tend to, “I don’t want this change.”

Do you think these changes are going to be sustainable later on or you think, in two, three years, you’re going to return to flyers, crazy as we did, and again running around? What’s your thoughts about that ?

Shep: Yeah. We’ve been changed forever. There’s no doubt. We’re going to go back to some of the things that we want to do. I mean, no doubt that we learned how to work remotely. So one of the things that I ask my clients is, what happened after the pandemic that you were forced to make a major change that you said, “You know what? This is working so well, I’m not going to go back to the old way”?

So I talked to one… He’s an executive in charge of… Let’s see. There’s 62,000 employees and 60 call centers around the world. I might have it the other way around. It might 60,000 employees and 62 call centers, but you get the idea. A lot of locations around the world.

And it was really interesting. He said one of the reasons we have locations around the world, we spread out the work, we are a worldwide company. So if you are in Germany, you’re going to get a European support center. You’re not going to get the one that’s in South America or the one that’s in Australia or whatever. But what happened, he said, is like we had multiple call centers in the United States. If there’s a hurricane on the coast, we just shift all the calls to the other side.

Not now. No, every one of the support centers had to shut down and this is what was really fascinating. Within one week, he mobilized 60 plus thousand employees to work from home into areas that didn’t even have good internet signals. He was able to figure out a way to make that work. In less than one week, he did this.

Companies change their processes and design the process that we talk about, the design of the experience. They change their processes literally in days to make this work. How long did it take that pharmacy to get an app and go on the internet? Doing it by themselves, it might have taken a few weeks, but it was a few weeks. It wasn’t a year or two years. If there was no pandemic and they said, “Let’s think about the app,” it might have taken a year before that app was developed for that pharmacy.

So I believe to your question though, when we do get out of this and we’re able to go places, and shake hands again, and eat without worrying about getting sick, there’s going to be a lot of the process that was changed that will stay there. You know, more digital payment systems are going to be prevalent to the point where I think…

And Bill Gates predicted this back, I believe, in 1990s when he came out with his book, “The Road Ahead.” He said, “We’re going to be a cashless society.” Everything’s going to be on a smart wallet. He had no idea, I don’t think, at the time it was going to be in a telephone, okay? But it was going to be… But the concept was there, right? So we’re going to see companies that have adapted. Like a restaurant that didn’t do much carryout, why stop doing the carryout? Let’s get people back in the door and keep pushing the carryout. It’s just another lane that they can operate in for their customers.

Ricardo: Bill Gates foresee that and he also saw the pandemic coming. He just didn’t know which one will come but he foresaw that as well. It was a strong guess by the way. But your last book, for sure, today you have “The Cult of the Customer.” All right, we’ll present this later.

But we are talking today here about what works. And what really works today is talking about convenience because this is the thing we are looking for right now. We need convenience to make things faster.

Your last book… You discussed the six principles of convenience in such a well, elaborated way. I would like to discuss three things, if you don’t mind, reduce friction, subscription, and delivering. And the reason why I would like to discuss those three is because I think this fits very well with European and the people that will be our audience here. Concerning subscription, we are all subscribed to something.

Shep: Yeah, newspaper, magazines, that’s the original thinking behind subscription.

Ricardo: Exactly. Subscription and convenience is a great thing, but we need to generate adoption, yes, because I can have a great propaganda. I want to send you this, and you pay me, you know, MRR per month and that’s great. Everything is beautiful. But we need really adoption, and this is the difficulty for certain companies to win adoption. So retention, loyalty.

So my question for you, the first one… That’s my main focus [inaudible 00:17:59]. Why do you think several enterprise technology companies which are very successful still very [inaudible 00:18:08] in certain ways because the experience that they are providing, their software, and their technology, it’s a multidisciplinary solution, it’s very complex. It’s not friendly. It’s [inaudible 00:18:20] one certain kind of people. Why do [inaudible 00:18:24] still like that today? They know that this is a problem to create adoption, but they are not changing that.

Shep: So it’s a clunky solution. It’s hard. It’s probably not as intuitive as it could be. It’s probably very intuitive for the people that designed it, but they didn’t talk enough to customers to find out if it was intuitive to them or maybe this is the best they can do and they’re thinking that, you know, “We’ve got to stop.”

Let me tell you what will happen. If somebody’s going to come along with an easier, more intuitive version of the same solution, giving the customer the same outcome, that is the day that customers will say, “Maybe it’s time for us to look at that other solution.” And it won’t be noticeable at first because oftentimes software solutions are very sticky. Once they’re in a company, it’s very hard to get out of them. But when the pain is so great and the new enterprise that comes along has a better solution and they’re hungry enough to help make the transfer, to do the training, guess what’s going to happen to that, you know, old, stodgy, you know, lack of willing to adapt type of company. They’re going to be a history lesson in the books of business.

Ricardo: Exactly. Because the reason why I’m asking that is because until maybe the iPhone, everything was complex, and we accept it easily, yeah? We did not have another option. But now with the phone, you have three clicks or one click sometimes and you get what you want at home. And in B2B as well because they have apps and you have to use the apps or an iPad if you are in a field search for example. And sometimes it becomes very complex for the people to do, for example, 10 clicks over an app. But app facilitates. If you go to the software, it’s a totally different world and it’s very complex and you have much more options, which is a great thing as well but it can turn people off. And that’s the reason sometimes this module is adopted well and this is not, so they have to work harder in this module to create adoption. That’s the reason. And this is about convenience. Not just in the retail but it’s about creating convenience for the customer.

Shep: Convenience goes beyond… You know, there’s so many ways to describe something as convenient, but when something is intuitive, that’s convenient to your brain. And so when you create a solution that has extra steps… By the way, in the book, in the subscription chapter, I used… If I didn’t do it in the book, I did it in an article. I think I talked about “The Wall Street Journal.” Did I talk about the Wall…? You would know better than I because you’ve read the book more than I have.

Ricardo: I can tell you the history [inaudible 00:21:25]. I think you mentioned something.

Shep: They did an experiment, and what they found is they wanted people to subscribe to “The Wall Street Journal,” and they would give you free access to “The Wall Street Journal” for a certain number of articles. And then after a certain number of articles, you were told you had to subscribe. And then people would say, “Okay, I’ll subscribe.”

It was a nominal monthly fee, and then they would go on and “The Wall Street Journal” would ask you for your name, your email address, your credit card information. And in addition to that, they wanted to know what kind of business you were in, how old you were, what your income level was, and people would just abandon… By the way, I’m exaggerating. I don’t know if they asked all those questions, but they asked a lot of unnecessary questions.

There’s only several pieces of information you need to know—credit card information, email address, maybe the name of the person, okay? Which you’ll get when you do the credit card information. You don’t need to ask anything else.

And what they found was for every question or every blank that the customer had to fill in that was eliminated, the adoption of the subscription or the willingness to continue on increased ever so slightly. Think about it. Eliminate a step, eliminate a box you have to check, eliminate a click that you have to make, and every time you do that, you increase adoption because it’s a more convenient experience.

Ricardo: One change, you know, that makes it easier for the people can change all the kind of adoption or subscription in that case, but that’s so amazing. And you mentioned about intuitive design, yes? For example, if you like math and I like history for example, we’ll perceive solution in different ways or it can be easier anyway. Therefore  can be. And the opposite can be about something else, so it’s interesting the mind models of people and how people think and they approach their lives.

Simplification, my next question. In your days where you have so many different, separated body parts, what you call silos, how do you think that companies… I will return to this question, okay? I just asked in the wrong way. Excuse me.

Again, in your days, talking about silos, how do you think you can help the companies to be perceived as one unit? I remember one article that you mentioned about that. I think it was not far away in less than a year. You talked about the customers have to pursue as one, not many different, separated…

Shep: Right. It shouldn’t matter what division I call, what call center I get routed to, what person I’m on the phone talking to. There’s a certain amount of information that needs to be available through everybody that’s going to be customer-facing. And when I have to repeat my story and start over as if you’ve never talked to me before…

Let’s just use a bank as an example. I talk to the bank, and I want to open a checking account. And I already have a mortgage with you, okay? I’m already doing business but you can’t recognize the fact that I’m already doing business with you. It’s a total disconnect. There’s no reason.

That person says to me, “Wow, you want to open a checking account with us. Wow, I can see you’re already one of our customers. Thank you so much. Yeah, you have a mortgage with us. So let me just confirm, are you still living at this address?” So I don’t have to ask you your address. I can confirm that you’re living… And it’s a totally different conversation, right?

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And what happens? I feel better connected as a result. That connection, by the way, is emotional because, even though you think, “How emotional can you get over a checking account?” It’s not about that. It’s about they know who I am, you know? Everybody wants to go to a place where everybody knows your name, which is a reference to a TV show back in the 1980s, “Cheers.”

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name

Shep: Yeah, I know. You probably wouldn’t know that, but I know that. Here in the U.S. it’s big. But that’s what we’re really talking about is what information can we provide that anybody on the frontline talking to any customer that doesn’t violate personal, you know, privacy type things that we do need to worry about, but we give them the information that they can use that isn’t an issue so that we can create a better experience.

Ricardo: Yeah, I found many issues with one of the telecommunications here. A huge European company. And everybody’s treating you like a separate entity, and that makes me mad.

Shep: I’ll tell you a great example. Telecom is also your internet service provider. I was called right after the pandemic started in mid-March. Everybody’s shelter at home, we’re staying at home, I’m called by the company that provides my internet for business. And the first thing…she introduces herself and she says, “I have a way of saving you money on your internet.” “Okay.”

I assumed at that point that she knew that I was a customer, and she started going down the road of, “You know how fast your service is?” I’m thinking, “Shouldn’t she know that?” So I did a speed test and I told her. And she goes, “Well, I can increase that and save you money.”

And then we started getting into it, and she told me how much money she was going to save me. And then she found out that I was an existing customer, and she couldn’t save me that money anymore. So by the time I was done and after talking to her supervisor, I’m now saving money because I demanded to get the deal that she offered me in the first place.

And it turns out…and this is interesting. She’s out there in the sales world. All she’s doing is smiling and dialing, and they didn’t give her the information of who she shouldn’t call is an existing customer. She’s looking for new business, and it’s a shame.

But the other piece of it, which I thought was rather interesting is that, you know, this company treats customers that have never done business with them before better than their existing customers who’ve been there for years.

Ricardo: I remember you wrote also about that. I probably know all the things you write.

Shep: You know more about what I’ve written than I’ve written.

Ricardo: Yeah, that may be true. So you wrote about that in the past, and here we have the same problem. The same exact problem. I think everywhere we all have the same problem. They focus on the new customer instead of taking and keeping properly the… And that’s your words. I’m using your words, not mine. I’m just using your article, I’m sorry.

Shep: No, it’s fine. I’m honored.

Ricardo: It’s plagiarism in English. That’s when I copy the things that you already said. My previous question was the following: how do you create a convenient mindset in a complex organization in terms of culture? For sure, the culture comes up, down, correct? That’s [inaudible 00:28:59], but easier said than done. And when you have to get to the verticals, and I will ask you a question about that later, it’s very complex to really make the change that is needed to get experience everywhere in the company. What’s your thoughts about that and how we can help?

Shep: Yeah. So I believe that creating a culture of service and experience, ideally convenience is tied into that. It really starts with leadership. I have this process. It’s really six steps, and I’ll go through it really, really fast. And, first of all, leadership has to define what the service and experience vision is in one simple sentence. And if that is all about convenience, then convenience needs to be in that sentence.

The idea behind one sentence is this is an easily communicated piece of information that every employee can understand and every employee can even memorize because it’s so short. One of my favorite service visions comes from the Ritz-Carlton that’s nine words long, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” Nine words.

Just read another one yesterday. A hospital that cares about their… It had to do with the heart of how they care for the patients as if they’re family members. I thought, “Okay, that’s great. That’s a great…” And what happens is when you create that vision, then you can train to it, and it’s your North Star.

So number one, and I’m going to go real fast now, you define the vision, you communicate it over and over and over again. It’s not a theme of the month. It’s long-term, it’s forever, and it stays there. Communicate it. Everybody knows it, reminded of it. Number three, everybody’s trained to it. Not everybody’s trained the same way. Somebody in the warehouse that never sees a customer or somebody in auditing who never ever sees a customer outside, they need to know what they’re doing that impacts the outside customer’s experience even if it’s two or three layers away. Number three… Sorry, that’s number three, everybody’s trained to it. Number four, the executives, managers, supervisors must understand it so well that they become the role model. And number five is anybody that isn’t in alignment with this is brought into alignment. It could be a person. It could be a department. It could be a region on a global company that’s out of alignment with what the whole vision is. And number six, when it works, you celebrate it.

So that’s the process. Now, bringing convenience into it, we start to get more… We dig deeper. We’re getting granular. So if convenience is part of this, how do we create convenience? Number one, we’ve got to journey map out every customer interaction that we have, and we got to look at every touchpoint. We got to say, in general terms, is this the best experience that we can be providing. And to the convenience terms, is there a way to make it easier on the customer?

Then I want you also to go vertical and look down into the company, and I want you to say to yourselves, “All right, what’s driving this touchpoint at the top? What are the departments? What are the people? What’s involved, okay? Is the experience internally easy as well or what can we do…?” Because we can create something that’s great for the customer that creates more work for the people inside the company, and it’s just going to be a conflict that will eventually probably destroy itself.

So we need to make sure if we’re going to, say, create a new software product or program that’s going to make it better for customers, it shouldn’t add three or four steps to the people that are supporting the customers to implement that. So we need to look at vertically what’s driving that touchpoint and understand to operate there. So that’s how you indoctrinate convenience in the entire organization not just at the customer level but at the employee level as well.

Ricardo: The book also is explaining more detail of that, but I really like your explanation. How could we embed convenience in designing products and services? Because convenience is for everything. It’s not just for the experience that you are delivering but also taking consideration that a product is perceived as an experience as you mentioned in one conversation about… When you got your iPhone.

Shep: It’s so cool. It’s so cool.

Ricardo: Yeah, so you have to create that. How we can make sure that the design, the product has this kind of mindset in your opinion? That’s not your expertise but just your thoughts.

Shep: So we go back to just what I talk about. You know, you’ve got this journey of the customer in every step along the way even beyond the people interactions. I mean, it could be how you receive your package and, you know, it’s opened. And, you know, is it easy? That’s why you think about it. When you open it up, you know, you’ve got the iPhone and there it is on top. And you take the iPhone out and then there’s a box that’s got a hole in it. What’s the hole for? So you can reach your finger in the hole and just pull up the piece of cardboard, and there’s your instruction manual and the cords.

I mean, it was designed with convenience in mind. So the only way that happens is through experimentation and using the product and having a group of people say, “What can make this box better?” I received a box that’s all taped up and I’ve got to go find a knife and I’m cutting and cutting and practically slice my leg off trying to open this box. Well, that’s inconvenient, but what if they had a better way of designing the box so they didn’t have to, you know, do what they did to, you know, create that bad experience?

So I think with companies that are innovative, that’s how we do it. But for those that might not have that ability to do so, think about this. What companies do you love doing business with the most that are easy? And what is it that they’re doing that’s easy? And sit down with a group of your people, and start to just throw it on the wall, write it down. I love the packaging. Why do you love the… Without a hole… That’s great. We don’t send boxes. Okay, well, that one’s not appropriate then. But maybe I love that when I’m on hold and it’s going to be more than a minute, they tell me how long it’s going to be. Do our customers ever experience long hold times? Yeah, once in a while. What do we do? We let them listen to good music.

Why can’t we use that technology in our… You know, what is that about? And you go out and you find that. It’s technology that another company is using that you admire and you adopt it. And by the way, it’s a very inexpensive technology that allows a company to let somebody know how long the hold is. Give them the option of being called back at a certain time.

But that’s what we suggest. At the most basic level, look at the companies you love doing business with. Write down what it is you love about them and then say, “Is any of that adaptable into what we do?”

Ricardo: Can you touch a bit in friction in terms of employee experience? Because it’s part of the convenience internally as we do externally. But internally is the key for having experience outside. Can you give some advice for people in terms of how to create convenience internally for the employees to make things easier, to learn faster and innovate? I can give million examples where there was no convenience and this makes the process of creating new ideas very difficult.

Shep: Yep. So, first and foremost, the company has to be willing and open to making the changes that need to be made. And we kind of talked about this a moment ago when you talk about the customer journey map and then you go vertical into the company and you recognize… If we’re doing something up here for the customer that’s making it more difficult for the employee, the employee is going to resent this, and it’s a conflicting message that you’re sending. It doesn’t mean it’s going to fail but it’s going to be harder for it to succeed. So we have to look at all of the processes inside.

You know, sometimes companies do things simply because they’ve always done those things in the past, and I’ll give you a really great story. I recently told this. I hadn’t told it in years. It’s not my story. Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational speaker, told a story about a big family dinner. When I say big family, it was a big family and there were little kids, there were parents, there were grandparents, even great grandparents at this family get-together. And a little girl said to her mom, “Mommy, why do you cut off the end of the pot roast or the roast before you put it into the oven?” And she said, “Your grandmother taught me to do it that way.” So the little girl then goes to her grandma and says, “Grandma, how come mommy cuts the end of the roast off before she puts it into the oven?” And Grandma said, “Well, your great grandma, that’s the way she taught me to do it.” And then the little girl goes to Great Grandma and says, “Great Grandmama, how come everybody cuts the end of the roast off before they put it in the oven?” She goes, “I don’t know. The reason I did it was because we had a very small oven.”

Ricardo: There’s no reason for really…

Shep: There’s no other reason. That’s because we always did it that way, and the reason we did it may not even be valid anymore. So we’ve got to take a look at what we’re doing today. Has it got validity to it? Is it still reasonable? Is this what we’re supposed to be doing? You know, is the old process still even viable?

Ricardo: That is a great point because we talk a lot about simplification, yes? And this is very connected. It’s a very great point. Shep, if you would like to give three or five practical takeaways for people that are watching us today, what would you like to leave them with before going to our last question?

Shep: Yeah. Well, number one, you know, we talk about it… To start the convenience process, journey map it out. Understand, at each touchpoint, you can improve the experience. One of the ways is through convenience. Is there a way throughout those touchpoints? Number two, look at other companies you admire. We talked about that.

Let’s talk a little bit about… Go back to the earlier part of our conversation, subscription. The concept of subscription isn’t just for magazines, newspapers, or software companies we pay a monthly fee. The concept of subscription is really available to virtually any type of business. It may not be automatic renewal. It may not be steady delivery of the product. Although it can be. You know, in my hardware store, it says, “Shep, don’t worry about coming in for filters for your HVAC or furnace and airconditioner anymore. What we’ll do is we’ll set you up on a program which, every six months, automatically delivers you the filters, and then you’ll know to make the change.”

Ricardo: And also they started to supply you something for your hair.

Shep: Yes. You had to put that in there for both of us by the way. Anyway, so you can do a subscription model that’s traditional… take something that’s not traditional like filters for an HVAC furnace or air conditioner and make that subscription. But you can also think about the concept of subscription means I’m going to get you to buy something and eventually I’m going to get you to renew that subscription. Subscription renewal is a concept that goes beyond just, you know, monthly receiving of whatever or an annual fee. So the idea of renewal is getting you to buy again from me, and that renewal process starts at the beginning of a relationship, not when it’s time for them to buying it.

Ricardo: It’s interesting you’re saying that. Volvo, right now, they have a subscription economy. So it’s like €800, maybe $1,000 and you can change the car all the time.

Shep: Right, you can buy any… So this is being done. Porsche for example. Luxury sports car. Depending on what level of subscription…

Ricardo: Let me make a point here. It’s German.

Shep: It’s German. Yes, it’s German. But you go into the Porsche dealer. And by the way, it’s not in every city. It’s not in every dealership. They’re trying to figure out how to make this work.

You don’t own the car. You don’t pay insurance on the car. All you have to do is gas the car up. That’s it, okay? No maintenance issues. This is different than renting a car, okay, and that you can say, on a monthly basis, you can drive the two-door convertible and then come back and get the sports utility vehicle and then get the four-door sedan. Make all the changes you want because you’ve paid for that level of subscription, and you just do it month to month to month until you want to go and get a Volvo instead of a Porsche.

It’s a pretty cool concept, but that idea of renewal, I want to create an experience that makes you want to renew doing business with me whether it’s an ongoing, steady business we have like traditional subscription business or… You know what? When it finally wears out, if I sell you a car and I know that about every five years, people on average replace their car, or I may be talking to you and you may tell me, “You know what? I change cars every three years.” If I wait till one month before three years is up to call you and tell you, “Hey, you want to come in and see another car?” I’ve made a huge mistake. That’s the renewal process. Why should it be so hard then to get you to come back? But if I can somehow maintain a relationship with you over that three years, maybe once every three, four, five months, I touch base with you. I send you something. It could be an email. It could be a video that I send you. A personal video that I send you just saying, “Hey, it’s Shep. Just checking in. Hey, I know crazy times during COVID. I want to make sure you and your family are healthy and happy. I’m still here at the dealership. If you ever wanna just call and the next time you want a car, I hope you’ll think of us. Thank you. Goodbye.”

Ricardo: Like the “Taxi Driver,” that was.

Shep: Yeah, the “Taxi Driver,” Frank, the taxi driver. So that’s what you do.

Ricardo: Shep, would you like to elaborate a bit the services that your company (Shepard Presentations, LLC) is providing and all the experience that you are providing for our audience to know?

Shep: Well, first and foremost people see me as a speaker who goes out around the world and talks about what we’ve been talking about in the form of a presentation. So we do that. We have trainers that deliver my content at a much deeper level. They’ll do all-day workshops, multiple-day workshops. We have clients that use us, you know, once a quarter, every quarter for years, and we have online virtual training where you can actually get me talking to you through video but it’s interactive. There’s lots of quizes and it’s on a wonderful learning management system. We believe that it isn’t just the customer service department that gets service training. Everybody needs to be trained on service and experience, so we have courses that are really meant for every employee. And of course I write books. I have my TV show, “Be Amazing Or Go Home,” which is on Amazon and Apple TV. And there’s a couple of my favorite books, and thank you very much for sharing those.

Ricardo: I will share those, I promise you.

Shep: Yeah, thank you. And I’ll pay you later on, thanks.

Ricardo: Okay.

Shep: But, no, that’s what we do. But more importantly, you know, I use the word revolution in some of my books, “The Amazement Revolution,” “The Convenience Revolution.” I want to create a revolution where we, in business, create better experiences for all of our customers, and you don’t have to buy a thing from me to make that happen.

If you go to my YouTube channel, which just you can go on YouTube and type in my name or you can go to Or, how about this? I just bought this URL, Sheptube. There’s YouTube and there’s Sheptube. I have 600 plus videos. I put all of the articles that I write. Every chapter I have in a book has been condensed to a video, and I put that out there, and it’s free. It doesn’t cost a thing. You can go to my website, which is You can get my newsletter, which once a week is a customer service tip usually or an experienced tip and it links to another video that you can watch on the YouTube channel. All of that is at no charge because I believe not every company’s going to hire me. Not every person can afford to hire me individually, but if I can make that information available to them, we’re going to create a revolution. It’s the amazement revol.

Ricardo: When I talk to people in customer experience, everybody knows you. Shep, thank you very, very much for your time. It was a great pleasure to see you again. It’s very nice to see you very healthy and at home and working again. That’s great. We keep in touch. Have a great…

Shep: I hope so. Thank you. It’s my pleasure. I look forward to the next time.

Ricardo: Thank you very much. Bye-bye. Have a great day.

Shep: You, too. Cheers.

Ricardo: Cheers. Bye-bye.

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Tabitha Dunn, Chief Customer Officer – Head of Customer Experience and Global Sales Excellence at Ericsson

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By |2021-02-10T18:03:32+01:00February 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Want to Become a Customer Experience & Services Leading Global Brand? Talk with Shep!

About the Author:

Ricardo Saltz Gulko is the Eglobalis managing director, a global strategist, thought leader, practitioner, and keynote speaker in the areas of simplification and change, customer experience, experience design, and global professional services. Ricardo has worked at numerous global technology companies, such as Oracle, Ericsson, Amdocs, Redknee, Inttra, Samsung among others as a global executive, focusing on enterprise technologies. He currently works with tech global companies aiming to transform themselves around simplification models, culture and digital transformation, customer and employee experience as professional services. He holds an MBA at J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Evanston, IL USA, and Undergraduate studies in Information Systems and Industrial Engineering. Ricardo is also a global citizen fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, and German. He is the co-founder of the European Customer Experience Organization and currently resides in Munich, Germany with his family.

A diabetic who wants to wipe diabetes from the Earth for all of us, the proceeds from his forthcoming book will be going to the Faustman Lab. The Lab is working to eradicate it, based out of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. You can also support and donate to The Lab. It would mean a lot to me, and millions of others struggling with diabetes.

You can learn more about him, his passions, and his charitable causes at his LinkedIn or Eglobalis or Facebook or Twitter.

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