Homepage » Innovative Perspectives

What I Want Marketers to Know: Shep Hyken, Customer Service Expert, Author, & Speaker

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Marketing Director, Americas , Emarsys

For as long as I can remember, Shep Hyken has been THE authority in the customer service and customer experience space.

He consults and advises top brands like Applebee’s, IBM, Lexus, and Shell, and has appeared in/on USA Today, FOX, Forbes, The Huffington Post, CBS, NBC, and more.

Hyken is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of half a dozen books, and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.

Location: St. Louis, MO

Current Role:

I’m the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. If you’ve ever walked away from a company or an employee and thought, “Wow, that was an amazing experience!” well, that’s what we help our clients achieve. We work with companies who want to create amazing customer service experiences for their customers, clients, guests, patients, or other stakeholders.

One word that best describes how you view the state of marketing/CX today:


An explanation: We are living in an age where the ability to deliver an amazing CX is exploding with opportunity due to advances in the Internet, social media, computing power, AI, and more.

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today:

I started my first business when I was twelve. It was a birthday party magic show business. After my first show, my mom told me to write a thank you note to the parents who hired me. My dad told me to follow up a week later with a phone call, and thank the parents again. He also suggested asking for feedback. At the young age of twelve, my parents were teaching me valuable customer service lessons; saying ‘thank you’ and getting feedback – and more.

My business and reputation grew. When I graduated college I saw a couple of motivational sales speakers and thought, “I can do that!”

I had a little business background and a college education, so I wrote a speech focused on customer service. That was back in 1983. Since then I’ve had the privilege and honor to work with amazing clients, have written bestselling books, and continue to learn about my passion in life: customer service and CX.

What do you wish CX practitioners knew (but you’re pretty sure they don’t)?

CX is not a marketing initiative or a department. CX is a philosophy that permeates through the entire organization, from the CEO to the most recently hired. Everybody in an organization has a role in CX.

What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by marketers/CX people today?

One of the biggest challenges is that CX needs to be part of a company’s culture. Most companies don’t see it that way. Simply put, what’s happening on the inside of an organization is felt on the outside by the customer. CX starts with EX, also known as Employee Experience.

How can they overcome this challenge?

Leadership must define their customer-focused vision. It can’t be complicated. Once it is defined, it needs permanence. It can’t be the flavor of the month or the theme of the year. It must sustain. The CX vision is baked into the culture. And, as a leader who sets the CX initiative, he/she must defend the culture.

If you could tell all marketers just one thing, what would it be?

One word: Consistency.

An explanation: Customer experience must be a consistent and predictable experience. You want customers to use the word always followed by a positive statement about your company when they talk about you. They are always so helpful, the package always shows up on time, and even when there is a problem, I know that I can always count on them to make it right.

“You want #customers to use the word ‘always’ followed by a positive statement about your company when they talk about you,” says @Hyken                            CLICK TO TWEET

Consistency and predictability is an important part of the CX.

Technology has already transformed marketing in so many ways. How do you see tech continuing to revolutionize the marketer’s role?

Let’s start with the multiple ways customers can connect with you – from in person to online to social media and more. And, the ability to use data to create a personalized experience is powerful. AI can help sort through huge amounts of data that, when used correctly, can help deliver an amazing CX.

“The ability to use #data to create #personalized experiences is powerful — AI can help sort thru data to deliver an amazing #CX,” says @Hyken                            CLICK TO TWEET

What are you currently reading, or what would you recommend for marketers?

Joey Coleman’s book, Never Lose a Customer Again. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. And, I just received an advance copy and started reading Jeanne Bliss’s new book, Would You Do That to Your Mother? Another outstanding book.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ___________ answer these same questions.

Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce.com, blogger, and author.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.

Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and is the creator of The Customer Focus™, a customer service training program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

Connect with Shep: Hyken.comLinkedIn@Hyken

Special thanks to Shep for his time and insight!

Know someone who would be a great fit for this series? Email us, and let us know!

Handpicked Related Content:

New Call-to-action

Are You Using Our Free
Benchmarking Tool?

Take Me There