Shep Hyken has for a while been one of the top influencers and thought leaders in the customer service and experience space. And it’s been no secret that he’s long been a hero and mentor of mine. So yes, I recommend all of his books — and there are several to choose from. In each of them, you will find insights to help you as a customer service and experience leader take better care of your customers.
In this article, I’m happy to share a few of my favorite insights from his book, “The Convenience Revolution.” The basic premise of the book is that the more convenient you make life for your customers, the more they will continue to do business with you. He then lays out six principles of this convenience revolution, highlighting case studies from companies excelling in one or more of these areas.
Let’s look at these six principles:
- Reducing Friction – Hyken says, “Reducing friction means anticipating and removing any barriers that stand between the customer and the product or service experience.”
- Self-service – We need to realize that in many cases customers don’t want to contact a company and only do so after realizing there are no sufficient self-service options.
- Technology – I especially like this quote where Hyken says, “Today’s customers have come to expect a steady stream of technological breakthroughs…which means they expect rising levels of convenience from the tools they use.”
- Subscription – Sometimes customers want to set it and forget it. For example, my wife and I love having coffee from our favorite coffee company delivered each month without giving it a second thought.
- Delivery – “Bring the product to the customer, rather than making the customer go to the product,” says Hyken.
- Access – Do you understand where your customers are and when they want to use your service.
Now allow me to share my three favorite quotes from the book. Here they are:
“Every time a customer shares feedback with you, consider it an opportunity to create a disruptive market advantage over your competition.”
Prior to reading this book, I’ve often uttered the first half of this quote when I say that “customer feedback is an opportunity to improve your business.” Hyken adds a fresh twist where he instead highlights an opportunity to disrupt an industry. We need to keep in mind that customers are constantly coming to us with problems and there may be a better solution out there that no one has innovated yet. Why shouldn’t we be the ones to discover it and disrupt our industry?
“Perhaps most important, no effective self-service process should be completely self-contained. Ideally, there should always be a human backup. If something goes wrong with the system, or there’s something your customer doesn’t understand, or your customer simply has a question and needs to talk to someone about it, there needs to be some way for an actual human being to take control of the situation.”
Self-help is taking on many different forms in our world. It could be a chatbot on your website or self-checkout at the local Walmart or Home Depot. Automation is great but there will be times where this adds aggravation and friction, not convenience, to the customer journey. This is a great reminder to make sure there are people in place who can take the handoff from the technology so the customer is taken care of. Be sure to ask these people often where the technology could and should improve.
Don’t make the mistake of imagining you’re ever going to be “finished” with this. Self-service is an ongoing commitment, not something you cross off a list.
Whether it’s self-service or any other facet of the business, we should be constantly making small improvements, which over time, add up to big ones. At the company I work for, we have an incredible knowledge base and believe that it can solve a good percentage of customer problems. But our customer support team is constantly working together as a part of each customer interaction to add content and keep the current content up to date. And that process will never be complete.
Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed The Convenience Revolution by Shep Hyken. If you’ve read it, share a favorite insight or two in the comments below. If you haven’t, pick up a copy. You won’t be disappointed.