The Cult of the Customer comes from five very distinct phases, or cults, that companies  operate in.  Do any of these describe you and/or your company?

1. The Cult of Uncertainty – This is where most companies are working from.  In the worst situation, the customer has no confidence as the experiences are unpredictable.  Not to
beat up on the airlines, but how confident can one be that a flight will be on time when the airline arrives on time only 75% of the time?

2. The Cult of Alignment – This is where the company has created a brand promise, or mantra, that lets employees and customers know what to expect.  For example, Outback
Steakhouse had a brand promise that was “Great Food, No Rules!”

3. The Cult of Experience – Even with a great brand promise, the customer may not have confidence until that promise is experienced, sometimes numerous times.

4. The Cult of Ownership – Once the customer experiences the promise, and it is predictable, the customer owns it. This is a powerful place to be.

5. The Cult of Amazement – This is the ultimate Cult.  When the experience is predictable and is consistently better than average, the company has risen beyond satisfactory. People may
think that “amazement” means a WOW experience. Yet it is simpler than that.  It is confidence in a consistently above average experience that puts companies into this Cult.

It is in the Cult of Amazement where customer loyalty really begins.  Understanding the five Cults, and where you and your company fit in, is the beginning of creating Amazement, which
leads to loyalty and eventually evangelism; when your customers are more than just loyal. It’s when they rave about you to their friends and associates.

Which Cult are you in?

Here is your homework assignment.  Find out more about these five Cults, and where you and  your company fits in by going to and download (at no
cost) a checklist.  Before you can know where you are going, you have to know where you are.

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email:  Web: For information on customer service training, go to

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