Customers don’t do business with a company. They do business with the people who work for the company.
Everyone seems to have a story about their favorite Ace Hardware store. Maybe it is the one they went to as a child, maybe with their father, on weekends, and they can still smell that smell unique to hardware stores, of metal and wood and dust. For others it might the small store on the main street of their town that they drive a little further to shop at even though there is a big box store right around the corner. For others, it’s the rare mega-Ace that seems to have everything and looks nothing like the Ace of their childhood. Certainly there are people who opt for the big box store around the corner, but Ace has carved out a niche for themselves and continues to do so. This new book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, by Shep Hyken, author of The Amazement Revolution, uses Ace Hardware as the exemplar, or “role model” in Hyken’s words, of good customer service.
Skeptical that Ace deserves such regard? Hyken offers evidence of Ace Hardware’s surprising growth in that market. “Lowe’s grew annual revenues by 2.9 percent, Home Depot by 3.5 percent. And Ace? Our under-the-radar rock start grew revenues by 5.1 percent.” That’s pretty noteworthy considering the stalled economic rebound and the anecdotal evidence we hear about the dominance of the retail “Goliaths” and the inevitable disappearance the retail “Davids.” Hyken was looking to write about a company which epitomized his 52 tools for better customer service and found the perfect match in Ace, “a company that delivered on a brand promise so powerful that it was able to compete–and win–in one of the toughest sectors of our economy, against industry players with far more money to spend[.]”
Like Ace, Hyken says, your company also has the opportunity to compete against the big guys. The key is, as the title says, Amaze Every Customer Every Time. “Amazing Every Customer Every Time doesn’t take a specific title. It takes the willingness to step up and become a role model who sets an example that others aspire to.” And that’s what this book enables you or your staff to do. And, Hyken says, everyone in your company needs to put these tools to work.”Every employee in your company carries an awesome responsibility: being your company. To the customer, that employee doesn’t just “represent” your company. He or she is the entire company, every working moment.” The good news is that all 52 tools are actionable from the moment you read them.
And if you think your employees won’t buy in to Hyken’s message? That’s not likely. Hyken’s high energy writing and sense of urgency is conducive to application. His calls to “Act Like You Own the Place” and “Don’t Leave Loyalty to Chance” are memorable. And his methods, such as “One to Say Yes, Two to Say No,” which asks companies to create a policy that is significantly atypical: allow any employee to say “yes,” but require two people to say “no.” Oftentimes, the second person will say yes because they are not in the immediate situation and able to see how the customer will benefit from a yes answer.
I would recommend Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet for any company that wants to refresh or reinvigorate their customer service, and even those who are unsure of what to do next to gain a toehold in their market in such a challenging economy. For Hyken, and for all of us, customer service–or rather, amazement–is always the first step.