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What Makes An ‘Amazing’ Customer Experience?


I was recently interviewed by customer service expert Shep Hyken for his TV show, Be Amazing or Go Home!

Shep and I go way back. He gave an amazing and inspirational keynote speech for Discover — where I was eventually Head of Digital Customer Experience. He has since become a close friend and mentor.

I jumped on his TV show to discuss my new award-winning book: The Experience Maker. This was a relatively short segment, so I highly recommend you check out the clip above. But this post should give you a little more detail about the things we discussed.

About The Host

Shep Hyken headshot

Name: Shep Hyken

Background: Shep is a world-renowned keynote speaker on customer service. He’s also a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, as well as an overall fantastic person.

Find Shep Online: Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

Hungry for the bite-sized version of the interview with some additional context? Here are some tasty treats.

You Don’t Need A Huge Budget to Create an Experience-Driven Brand

Here’s a common misconception: you need a big budget to deliver big customer experiences. That’s not true. In the interview, I discuss how I created The Experience Maker to bring an experience-driven culture to companies of any size.

“I started collecting stories from my own experience as well as from just being a consumer myself and hearing of other stories from my friends who are consumers. And I started to put together a framework for how we can actually create experiences in a simple, practical, and inexpensive way.”

“So the idea is, you read this book, and you’re inspired by a number of the examples. You go back to work the next day and say, ‘I can do this, like today. I don’t have to ask for permission. I don’t need to go get a big budget. These are changes that I can make and I am empowered to do it.'”

I always say that customer experiences punch above their weight. You can take a small budget and a couple of great experience-driven ideas and supercharge your growth. Focusing on relationships, long-term value, and customer happiness is more important than price or product. Great experiences lead to higher retention, high levels of loyalty and brand evangelism, and higher overall satisfaction. And those obviously translate into financial success.

Some great stats (and a quote) to solidify this message:

  • 33% of companies (regardless of size) compete based on customer experience (Gartner) (This number should be rising rapidly.)
  • “While many companies focus significant time and money on design that pops or cutting-edge technology to wow customers, these aren’t as essential to the experience equation as many companies believe.” (PwC)

We All Deal With Humans

Shep asked me who should focus on customer experiences. I often have B2B marketers come up to me after keynotes or workshops and say, “Hey, I really like your examples and what you’re about. But does this apply to B2B companies?”

I never miss a beat. My answer: “That depends. Do you market to humans?”

Customer experience matters for every company. B2B marketers aren’t targeting buildings or logos. They’re marketing to people. And people, as we all know, buy from people they like.

Always market to the people, not the business. Even with today’s big data and account-based marketing, we’re all still chasing the same thing: human beings with human emotions and a natural need for positive experiences.

Some cool stats to solidify this message:

  • B2B buyers are nearly 50% more likely to purchase a product/service when they see the personal value. (Google)
  • B2B buyers are willing to pay 8x more for products/services when they feel personally connected to them. (Google)

Tailored Advice for Everyone

I spent decades collecting stories for my book. And one of my main goals was to deliver stories that speak to leaders across industries. In my book, I break down stories from nearly every major industry. I want you to be able to take an example and execute a strategy immediately. These strategies don’t require million-dollar budgets. I include some real shoestring ingenuity from brands that absolutely dominated at delivering exceptional customer experiences for little or no money.

Some awesome stats to solidify this message:

Chewy’s ‘Amazing’ Customer Service Email

I love Chewy logo

We ended the interview by discussing one of my favorite recent customer experience memories. Chewy — the pet supply company — sent what I thought was “the greatest customer service email in the history of either customer service or email.

This email happened to be for a woman that left a bad review on some cat litter. Keep in mind, Chewy is just a distributor. It wasn’t even their cat litter. But, instead of pointing this out, they sent her a proactive email saying:

We’re sorry you had a bad experience. We’ve refunded your money for the cat litter (which she never asked for). They also included a recommendation of four other cat litters that might be a better fit for her cat.

At the end of the email, they said: Please give our love to Roma (the name of her cat)” They mentioned they had a “Furry Wall of Fame” in their office, and they would love to put up a picture of her cat. They also signed the email “Many whiskers, Stephanie H.”

This email hits every experience checkbox (e.g., personalization, kindness, etc.). But it’s also scalable. You can send these direct, personalized messages to people that feel like they are really tailored to them specifically — which is ultimately the kind of experience we all want.

Some beautiful information to solidify this message:

  • Chewy doesn’t measure handle time on their calls. Instead, their CEO focuses on the experience. “We have a 3,000-person customer care team, and they need to be both empathetic and empowered to act on the customer’s behalf… We have veterinarians that have stayed with customers for more than two hours to provide education, awareness, and comfort to pet parent customers.” (Sumit Singh, CEO of Chewy)
  • Chewy’s customer-centric attitude has transformed them into a billion-dollar pet supply Goliath. (RetailDive)

More About ‘The Experience Maker’

The Experience Maker Book

My latest book — The Experience Maker was awarded one of the Top Customer Experience Books of All Time by BookAuthority. It is a summation of my decades of experience in CX and marketing. I wanted to distill data, stories, and information I’ve painstakingly learned over the years into an easy-to-digest format. Are you looking for a scalable and straightforward customer experience framework? Do you want actionable strategies based on real-life examples of big CX wins? Tired of playing catchup in an increasingly experience-driven world?

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • A blueprint for designing world-beating customer experience strategies
  • Why traditional marketing no longer works, and how to solve your “leaky bucket” problem
  • How to eliminate customer pain points, reduce friction, and create memories
  • What the WISER model is, and how it will change the way you approach businesses
  • How CX really impacts your bottom line
  • What gets shared on social media (and what doesn’t)
  • and much, much more!

Note: Links to books in this article are affiliate links, meaning this website receives a (very) small commission on any sales, though the customer’s price is not affected.

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