Book review

Book review: 'Get your stuff and get out! Why customer service sucks' by Bryan Horn


In the latest episode of The Limetropy CX Book Club, a panel of experts review Get your stuff and get out! Why customer service sucks and how we can make it great again by Bryan Horn.

6th Jul 2021

The wonderful thing about being part of a book club is that for the same price and reading-time investment, you not only get so many more insights - those from the other participants - but you also see those insights being sparked real-time in what I can only compare to musical improvisation. Today's session was particularly inspiring to see, as one insight generated another and another, taking us from one topic to the next.

Get your stuff and get out is an honest book, filled with common sense and vivid real-life examples that we agreed, made us all connect to large and small issues that our field of CX needs to address. As we dug for the root cause, again and again the topic of people being on board, trained – having a great employee experience themselves, kept coming up. CX doesn’t actually start with the customer – it starts with the employee that delivers the experience, that makes it happen. As Bryan pointed out, “to change business, we got to start with HR”.

I may be spoiling a bit one of the highlights of the recording below, but just in case you don’t have time to watch it, I’d like to share an anecdote Christopher shared, that came back to him as we all processed this. He once witnessed a conversation between a Sales director and an HR director.

At one point the Sales director said to the HR director, “What would you think if I got lots of sales leads in and decided… “nah, I won’t process them all”. I’ll choose the ones I want to process, and the rest I’ll just drop on the floor”.

The HR director said, “you’d probably lose your job”, to which the Sales director replied, “Then why do you do it?”

- “What do you mean?”

- “You have gold! – every time you ask for a job to be advertised, you get incredible individuals who put their hand up and say “I’m interested!”. While you may only hire one, the rest may very well continue on to become customers and/or take up rolls where they get to decide whether or not to do business with us, or influence others about us in some large or small way. “I don’t know how much a sale is worth today, tomorrow or in the future, but I make sure I reach out to every single prospect. Why don’t we do the same with people?” 

Why indeed. We’ve all experienced recruitment processes, sometimes as the first step of the employee experience, sometimes they just end there. Whether successful or not, what did that experience tell us about the company? Customers or not, employees or not, we carry those experiences for a long time, don’t you think?

Employee experience sometimes feels like a little offshoot, a secondary branch in the CX tree, and this session really brought home that it isn’t. Ever since this conversation I keep seeing blind spots, opportunities waiting to be seized in this realm; I hope sharing this will spark the same for you. As Customer-centric CX professionals we need to start with HR, work more with and alongside HR… indeed make it great again so that every other experience it touches may be just as good.

Here is what the guest reviewers of this session had to say about reading Bryan’s Get Your Stuff and Get Out!: Why Customer Service Sucks and How We Can Make It Great Again! Watch the full session recording below to get to know Bryan and the book a bit more, and you’d like to participate as a guest reviewer yourself on a future episode, please reach out to Limetropy here, or sign up to take part as live audience of upcoming sessions for free through Eventbrite, here.

“I found the book very authentically written, and I feel as though I connected with the author through the tone. I personally found his backstory very inspiring and appreciated learning about his journey. I love the focus on employee experience as this is often lacking in today's corporate world, so often it’s just lip service. But Bryan really gives solid examples around this and helps communicate the case for customer service transformation”.  - Jonathan Daniels

“Brian’s book provides a fresh perspective on well-publicized topic of customer service. It proves with brutal honesty that world have gone wrong and needs a detox from violent, outdated and company centric policies, enacted by non-committed and non-empowered employees and scared, bureaucratic managers. The book is challenges to re-think your own customer experience and ask many fresh questions – why do we as customers do so many things we don’t really need to and tolerate it? For example, why do we need to register for an airline flight, while airline already as all our information and received the money for the flight? Just one example of the rules that make companies’, not customer’s life better. Why do we need to sign the agreement in 5 different places and hand-write the postal address? Why do we need to come to the office in person in 2021, when the whole world is gone digital? Why do we need to wait 3 days for the decision that takes 5 minutes?

The book offers clear algorithms what a company shall do to change from company centric to customer centric mindsets – simple steps that everyone can follow, irrespectively of the company size or industry. The list of “death words” can become a guideline for transforming scripts, policies and guidelines for customer-facing staff, and numerous examples together with a touch of author’s personality and humour make the reading engaging and fun”. - Olga Guseva

“The author is a rare beast, a lawyer who exhibits emotional intelligence.  The book is very accessible.  The author, Bryan Horn, writes from experience of working life and his observation of human behaviour.  It’s a potent combination.  And he doesn’t hold back the punches.  His assumption is fair: that all companies should strive to provide excellent customer service.  And the question he poses: why do so few companies achieve it is a question that anyone who has been at the end of poor customer service can relate to.  He lays the blame at the door of the executive team for not setting and enforcing the service agenda.  He is also particularly cutting about the unsuitability of human resources personnel to their role (which is a razor sharp insight).  The messages are clear: a) customer loyalty is simply a commitment until something better comes along; b)  customer service that falls short of expectation will result in defection; c) business leaders should treat staff as well as they treat customers (‘your employees will respond to your customers in the same manner in which you treat them’), if they want to inspire them to perform to the best of their ability (‘discretionary behaviours that employees want to do rather than have to do’); d) happy staff drive increased profitability.  The author also puts forward a question that every manager should regularly ask themselves, ‘would you want to work for you?’. 

If the reader doesn’t grasp and apply the principles given in this book then he/she shouldn’t be in a responsible role.” - Tom Kerr

“Bryan really set the book up well with work place anecdotes on the management styles of ineffective bosses which will resonate with every one who has been employed. Highlighting the importance of trust and empowerment for leaders to allow their teams to flourish.

The book then goes on to recommend several actions and focal points an organisations can take in order to succeed.  By avoiding inhibitors such as badly thought out rules and policies and by releasing employees to give great customer service in the interest of a positive customer outcome. A reminder that creating success is not rocket science but there is a science to managing business, employee and ultimately customer success”. - Nick Lygo-Baker

“It’s clear within the first few pages how passionate Bryan Horn is about making Customer Service great again. The stories shared resonate and the practical advice provided can be applied easily by all. The need to adopt an inside out approach and focus on the employee experience is well made, with personal examples shared by the author of when this is done wrong! But we all know they continue to happen. The story for every business starts from within, get the Employee experience right and an exceptional customer experience will naturally follow. This is a book packed full of stories that tell and real facts that sell all of the insights shared. I loved it.” - Gavin Scott

“If you are looking for hacks, fancy business models, behavioural tactics or complicated IT integrations, you won’t find them in this book. What you will find is a common sense approach to treating the people, who make your business a success, with respect, integrity and appreciation. In return you will win their trust, loyalty and recommendation. This is basically a book about how to be human while serving people. Filled with real life examples, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the message. Good common sense is often not common, every business owner that genuinely wants to enhance the experience of their customers and employees will benefit from applying just a handful of the many suggestions. Whichever ideas you implement, come from a place of genuine intention, as Bryan convincingly describes, this is the place where magic happens.” - Heidi Stone

And what did the author think of the Limetropy CX book club experience this time?

"Having my work reviewed for the Limetropy book club was a humbling experience. Never in my imagination could I have thought leading CX experts and best-selling authors would be reviewing and praising my work! The questions from each of the participants were intelligent, articulate, and stimulated great conversations. What I found most amazing is regardless of our physical locations (weather in the UK, US, Europe, or elsewhere), every corner of the globe is plagued with the same CX issues. However, we all seem to be consistent and in-tune with how to resolve these issues. We all had the same thought patterns, suggestions, and formulas, and that was truly amazing to see! I am honored and thankful for this remarkable opportunity. I am proud to call these people my colleagues and friends."- Bryan Horn

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