Shep Hyken: 20 Ways To Create An Amazing Customer Experience In 2020

With all the focus on how technology—including AI, data, personalization and more—can drive better customer experience, I wanted to shift my focus back to basics. To this end, I recently published an article in Forbes about ways to create an amazing customer experience in 2020, and I thought it would be enjoyed by our LitmusWorld audiences as well. It is quite long, so sit back, relax and enjoy. Here are twenty ideas as to how you can up your customer service game in 2020.

  1. Stay in touch. Too often companies focus all their efforts on acquiring new customers instead of keeping existing customers. Don’t forget about your “sold” customers—stay in touch on a (somewhat) regular basis. Depending on the type of business, it may be as infrequent as once a year.
  2. Send a surprise “gift” when your customers are least expecting it. Everybody sends gifts around the holidays. Find other times to surprise your customers with an unexpected gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just a clever, thoughtful touch that gets noticed.
  3. Eliminate long hold times. Don’t waste your customers’ time. If you must make them wait, let them know for how long and give them the option of being called back.
  4. Send a thank-you note. When was the last time you sent or received a thank you note? Surprise and delight your customers by sending them an old-fashioned, handwritten note in an envelope with an address and a stamp.
  5. “Freaky Fast” Response Times. Who doesn’t love fast service? Jimmy John’s, the fast-food chain known for “freaky fast” service and delivery, knows how much customers appreciate speed. Take a leaf out of their book by finding ways to be freaky fast for your customers.
  6. Do something special for “Get to Know Your Customer Days”. These days happen four times a year on the third Thursday of the beginning of each quarter (January, April, July and October). For more information, go to GetToKnowYourCustomerDay.com
  7. Use video. A video is an amazing tool. It’s inexpensive and can often be posted for free. Use it for online tutorials, a video version of Frequently Asked Questions and more. Check out this recent Forbes article on using video.
  8. Call the customer instead of making them call you for appointments. It’s one less thing the customer has to do when doing business with you.
  9. Celebrate National Customer Service Week (the first full week of October). You’ll have to wait until October, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning now. For more information, go to the official website for National Customer Service Week.
  10. Share content that is all about the customer and not about the company. In other words, it isn’t a sales or marketing piece. Well, actually, it is, but it shouldn’t feel like it.
  11. Create your customer service mantra. This is a big one. We often spend a month preparing for a full-day meeting to help our clients create their mantra. For those that don’t have one, now is the time to create one. The mantra is a simple phrase—one sentence or less—that sums up your customer service culture. For example, ours at Shepard Presentations is “Always Be Amazing.” We want to be amazing to our clients and help them be amazing. Our friends at Ace Hardware have a simple one too: “The Helpful Hardware Place.” The Ritz-Carlton’s is a little longer. They call it their credo: “We’re ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Once you have your mantra, it’s easy to stay focused on what’s important in delivering an amazing customer service experience.
  12. Give back. ’Tis the season of giving. Why not become part of a cause or participate in a charity? Customers love when the places they do business with give back. It’s good karma!
  13. Have a weekly huddle with your team and spend five minutes sharing how someone created a great customer experience that week. Little reminders shared consistently with employees will help keep customer service in front of mind. Plus, it makes everyone feel good to acknowledge team success.
  14. Publish a report or white paper that will benefit your customers. Customers love relevant information. This could be a great opportunity to make sure you have the most recent and relevant information in your field. It also creates confidence in your customer base by proving your knowledge and expertise. This can be a great marketing piece to attract future customers, too.
  15. Have everyone share an example of when they received a great service experience from a fellow employee. In this case, it’s better to receive than give. You get to recognize your fellow employees for what they’ve done for you. This serves as a good reminder and also builds stronger team bonds.
  16. Do more on social media. Participate in conversations on social platforms and become part of the online customer community. However, this isn’t an opportunity to sell. It’s an opportunity to engage. There’s a big difference!
  17. Have a contest where everyone submits a creative—even unusual—customer service or experience idea. As above, the prize isn’t about how good the idea is, but about the participation.
  18. Ask your customers my favourite question, which I refer to as the One Thing Question: Is there one thing you can think of that would make doing business with us better? Read every answer and take action on some of the better ideas. It’s amazing what happens when you listen to your customers! When you listen to them, they feel valued and appreciated.
  19. Have a contest to see who can deliver the best experience to an external or internal customer. It’s nice to recognize the best, but the prize should be a random drawing for all those willing to participate. Of course, you should share the best of the best.
  20. Don’t forget that customer experience starts with the employee experience. Remember, what happens on the inside of the organization is felt on the outside by the customer. If you want to have great customer experience, you must focus on your employee experience. Take care of employees, and they will take care of your customers.

There you have it, I’ve shared with you my top twenty tips and ideas to up your customer service/experience game in 2020. I hope you’ve found them useful, and that they’ve perhaps inspired some business-focused New Year’s resolutions! I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all LitmusWorld Newsletter subscribers and readers a happy new year. Here’s to 2020 being your best year yet, filled with revenue, profits and, of course, amazing customer experiences!

Shep Hyken is the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. As a customer service and experience expert, he help’s organizations create amazing customer and employee experiences. His books have appeared on bestseller lists including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and others. In 2008 the National Speakers Association inducted him into their Hall-of-Fame for lifetime achievement in the professional speaking industry.

This article originally appeared on Shep Hyken’s blog. Reproduced here with permission.