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Customer Service, Public Speaking, and Magic: Shep Hyken's Influences

In his interview on Smashing the Plateau yesterday, Shep Hyken detailed how strong, example-setting leadership can influence all employees to treat customers well. Here he expands on the people who have, in turn, influenced him:

1. Zig Ziglar (now deceased) and Tom Hopkins (@TomHopkinsSales):

Hyken writes, “I saw Zig and Tom at a ‘rally’ in 1983.  After they did their presentations, I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do… be a speaker.’ Tom talked about sales and Zig talked about setting goals.  I bought Tom’s book and Zig’s tapes. They changed my life and within a week I had a ten-year plan (goals) and was calling on (selling) my first potential speaking clients. 32 years later I’m still in business.”

2 Jan Carlzon, author of Moments of Truth (1989):

Hyken first encountered an article about Carlzon’s “Moments of Truth” concept in the early 80s, as he was developing his own business. He writes that “His concept is the foundation of customer service, which is my passion and expertise. He is a customer service legend.”

3. Bud Dietrich (deceased):

Dietrich’s 44-year career as a magician involved performing and lecturing at trade shows; he also co-authored a book and magic and invented new tricks. Hyken writes that “Bud was my mentor. When I first got into this business he said that if I would work 40 hours a week at getting business, I would be successful. It was common sense that I took to heart. Bud just passed away last year. I’ll miss him.”

4. National Speakers Association (NSA) (@NSASpeaker; http://www.nsaspeaker.org):

In his interview, Hyken spoke about how influential the National Speakers Association had been to his career. He writes, “The National Speakers Association has profound impact on my career and personal life. So much of what has made me successful in my career, I learned from the generous members of NSA. And on a personal level, the friends I’ve made over the years are amazing.”

5. “My parents”:

Hyken describes how his parents were “very very important” to the development of his understanding of customer service. He notes that “Everything I needed to learn about customer service I basically learned from my parents,” who taught him, in his first business as a twelve-year-old magician, everything from the importance of confirming reservations to how to follow-up and ask customer for feedback.


About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.

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