Customer Service: Career Success Through Customer Loyalty / Edition 4

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Overview

Customer Service: Career Success in the Service Economy, 4e provides a systematic process for building service skills that all business people need. Presented in a friendly, conversational manner, the book is filled with examples that demonstrate the link between service skills and career achievement. This edition emphasizes the impact of customer loyalty on business growth and discusses how to measure a company's ration of promoters, or Net Promoter Score. Throughout the book, there is an emphasis on exceeding customer expectations and translating customer loyalty into personal and corporate success. Explains why certain actions lead to better customer loyalty, and provides specific ways to accomplish these behaviors. Goes well beyond canned responses to help readers apply creative solutions to ever-changing problems. A greater emphasis on loyaltyand the latest techniques such as the Net Promoter Score, exceeding expectations, customer-friendly technology etc. Examines how loyalty translates to business growth and development through recommendations, referrals and promotions. This book is for employees and managers of customer service departments and human resource training departments.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132236584
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 2/13/2007
  • Series: Pearson Custom Business Skills Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.94 (w) x 9.98 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

I’ve had the privilege of writing more than 30 books on a variety of topics dealing with challenges managers and career-oriented people deal with every day. My books on customer loyalty, human relations, management communication, and self-management have been translated into more than a dozen languages and sell worldwide. I have also written and appear in a series of videotape training programs produced by Jack Wilson & Associates (www.JWAvideo.com).

My writing is based on more than 30 years experience as a professor, trainer, consultant and entrepreneur. I have held positions with large companies (Xerox and Bell South) and have led small organizations such as Prime Learning, Inc. I also served in a helicopter company in the US Army in Vietnam.

For fun I run (marathons and triathlons), play golf, read, and enjoy observing the kinds of customer service people give–or, more often, fail to give.

I strongly believe that no arena offers as much opportunity for your professional advancement as does the field of customer service and loyalty. And with the skills taught in this book, you will greatly enhance your ability to build and sustain your greatest asset–your relationships with loyal, committed customers and employees–through exceptional service.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

I wrote this book in response to a need for a different approach to learning .tie skills needed to succeed in the challenging arena of customer service.

The other customer service books displayed in bookstores everywhere typically take one of two forms: They either tell the story of one company's efforts at boosting service quality, or they reveal a series of tips and ideas. These are fine as far as they go. I have written several such books myself. And books like this can have value so long as the reader effectively translates the ideas into application for his or her organization. But these books seldom show how to apply these diverse ideas to your organization.

The few textbooks available in customer service tend to offer over-simplified suggestions on how to phrase conversations, how to smile and polite with customers, and the like. Their simplicity defies the real world sere real people don't speak from scripts and real human relationships e complex and ever-changing.

This book takes a different approach. It ties together the best information from bookstore trade books and school textbooks—and then adds more. In this book you will find a clear and usable process for developing the kinds of skills, attitudes, and thinking patterns needed to win customer satisfaction and loyalty. The process includes developing

  • a heightened awareness of the challenges and opportunities,
  • the tools for dealing with unhappy customers by using the power of customer expectations and by creating loyalty,
  • the ability to lead, expand, and empower the service process,
  • specific skills forprofessional success, and
  • a clear understanding of the future directions of customer service.

Perhaps no arena offers as much opportunity for organizational and professional success as customer service. It lies at the heart of any organization's reason to exist. The companies that do it well experience enormous profitability, marketplace acceptance, and genuine satisfaction among their employees.

Apply Customer Service and enjoy the rewards of professional excellence. Then, let me know how you applied the ideas. I can be reached at email: DrTimm@AOL.com.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author and editor would like to thank the following commentators for their expert reviews: Garland Keesling, Towson State University; Shek True, Fort Lewis College.

Paul R. Timm, Ph.D.
March 2000

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Table of Contents


From the Author     xii
About the Author     xviii
Know Why Service Matters     1
Introduction     2
No One Succeeds without Loyal Customers     3
"Customer" implies an exchange of value     3
Customers Have Many Names     4
Customer Relationships Can Become Partnerships     4
Positive Word of Mouth Gets and Keeps Customers     5
The impact of E-Commerce on word of mouth     6
The Good and Bad News about Customer Service-The Cost of a Lost Customer     7
Calculate the terrible cost of the lost customer     7
Appreciate the cost of the lost     8
How much will it cost to replace these customers?     9
Understand how lost customers mean lost jobs     9
Some Key Changes in the Diverse Nature of Customers     9
Increasing customer diversity     10
Age issues     10
Globalization     12
Work-life balance     12
Translating Slogans and Good Intentions into a Strategy     12
The Ultimate Goal: Developing Customer Loyalty for Life     13
Customer loyalty     14
A Final Thought     17
Assignment Portfolio     17
Summary of Key Ideas     17
Key Concepts     18
Reviewing the Facts     18
Applying the Ideas: Interview Service Providers     18
Notes     20
Use Behaviors That Engage Your Customers     23
Behavior and Personality Factors That Please Customers     24
Fifteen Individual Behaviors Can Convey Personality     25
Greet customers like guests     25
Break the ice     26
Compliment freely and sincerely     26
Call people by name     27
Talk to customers with your eyes     27
Ask often "How am I doing?"     28
Listen with more than your ears     29
Say "please," "thank you," and "you're welcome"     29
Reassure customers in their decision to do business with you     29
Smile     30
Use good telephone techniques     30
Reach out and touch them     31
Enjoy people and their diversity     31
Maintain a positive attitude about selling     32
Watch your dress, grooming, and workplace attractiveness     33
Six Organizational Behaviors That Convey a Customer-Centered Culture     33
Consider your company's appearance and grooming      33
Get customers to interact with your organization     37
Correspond regularly     37
Use hoopla and fun     38
Reward the right actions     38
Stay close after the sale     39
A Final Thought     40
Assignment Portfolio     40
Summary of Key Ideas     40
Key Concepts     41
Reviewing the Facts     41
Applying the Ideas: Does Behavior Influence Customer Loyalty?     41
Applying the Ideas: Hooray for Waffle House     43
Notes     45
Apply Your Best Listening Skills     47
The Difference between Listening and Merely Hearing     49
What Contributes to Listening?     49
Internal elements affecting listening     49
Environmental elements affecting listening     49
Interactional elements affecting listening     51
Listening Habits to Avoid     54
Faking attention     54
Changing channels     55
Listening only for the facts     55
Interrupting     56
Positive Steps to Better Listening     56
Solicit clarification     57
Minimize the number of gatekeepers      57
Try counter-attitudinal advocacy     57
A Final Thought     60
Assignment Portfolio     60
Summary of Key Ideas     60
Key Concepts     61
Reviewing the Facts     61
Applying the Ideas: Discover Your Listening Style     61
Notes     64
Use the Telephone Right for Good Service     67
Know the Benefits and Drawbacks of Telephonic Communication     68
Action Tips for Identifying Telephone Use Attitudes     70
Check your phone use attitudes     70
Contact a company     70
Avoid unnecessary call screening     71
Action Tips on What to Do and Say     72
Answer promptly and be prepared to handle calls     72
Use courtesy titles     72
Thank people for calling     73
Smile     74
Be sure the conversation is finished before you hang up     74
Handle the upset caller with tact and skill     74
Action Tips on How to Express Yourself on the Phone     75
Keep your conversation tactful and businesslike     75
Speak clearly and distinctly     76
Speak naturally and comfortably     76
Do not let "dead air" happen     77
Keep a constant flow of information     77
Keep callers on track     77
Action Tips for Efficient Use of the Phone     78
When Calling others, asks "is this a convenient time to talk?"     78
Take messages cheerfully and accurately     79
Make your greeting message efficient     80
Learn to use your phone's features     80
Plan your outgoing calls for efficiency     81
Don't let the telephone interrupt an important live conversation     82
Consistently work to improve your telephone communications     82
Call Centers: Building Relationships One Phone Call at a Time     82
What a call center is     83
How many call centers are there?     83
A Final Thought     84
Assignment Portfolio     85
Summary of Key Ideas     85
Key Concepts     85
Reviewing the Facts     85
Applying the Ideas: Try Rewording for a Better Tone     86
Applying the Ideas: Hear the Difference     86
Notes     89
Use Friendly Web Sites and Electronic Communication     91
What Is Web-Based Customer Service?     92
Self-serve common answers      92
Delayed answers     93
Live answers     93
Self-serve personalized answers     94
Acknowledge Cost Advantages for "Webifying" Customer Service     94
Recognize Disadvantages of Web-Based E-Service     95
Apply Five Action Tips for Avoiding E-Service Problems     96
Be there and be quick     96
Make site navigation simple     96
Respond quickly     97
Provide communication alternatives     97
Pay attention to form and function     97
Utilize Five Action Tips for Evaluating and Growing E-Service Effectiveness     99
Track customer traffic     99
Benchmark service levels     99
Teach your site to learn     99
Build an ongoing E-relationship     99
End high for better loyalty     101
A Final Thought     101
Assignment Portfolio     101
Summary of Key Ideas     101
Key Concepts     102
Reviewing the Facts     102
Applying the Ideas: Explore the World of E-Service     103
Notes     105
Recognize and Deal with Customer Turnoffs     107
Be Aware. Be Very Aware-Recognize Pet Peeves about Customer Service     108
Get a Picture of What Turns Customers Off     109
Value turnoffs     110
Systems turnoffs     111
People turnoffs     114
Know That Reducing Turnoffs Is the Best Advertising     115
Create Loyal Customers     116
The zone of indifference     116
Value service recovery     117
Loyalty comes from customers' awareness that service is your business     117
Earn your customer's loyalty with two steps     118
Listen with More Than Your Ears     118
A Final Thought     119
Assignment Portfolio     120
Summary of Key Ideas     120
Key Concepts     120
Reviewing the Facts     121
Applying the Ideas: Discovering Customer Turnoffs     121
Notes     124
Get Customer Feedback     125
Why Feedback Is So Important     126
Feedback is a form of coaching     126
Complaints are valuable feedback     126
Getting input at the point of contact     127
Commitment to Feedback Varies     128
What statistics reveal about feedback     128
Reinforce, Don't Challenge the Customer      129
Be sensitive to your first reactions     129
Act on Complaints in Productive Ways     130
Feel the customer's pain     132
Do all you can to resolve the problem     132
Other Proactive Ways to Get Feedback     132
Try focus groups     133
Use explorer groups     135
Use customer surveys     135
Use "mystery shoppers"     138
A Final Thought     139
Assignment Portfolio     139
Summary of Key Ideas     139
Key Concepts     140
Reviewing the Facts     140
Applying the Ideas: Getting Customer Feedback     141
Notes     143
Recover the Potentially Lost Customer     145
Understand the Case for Customer Recovery     146
Maintain Healthy Attitudes about Customer Recovery     147
Develop Your Recovery Skills     149
Feel their pain     149
Do all you can to resolve the problem     149
Go beyond: offer "symbolic atonement"     149
Look back and learn from each situation     150
Understand what happens if the customer is still not satisfied     152
Handling the Occasional "Customer from Hell"      152
Be sure this really is a chronic complainer     152
Know what to do with this guy (or gal)     153
Handing a Nasty Complaint Letter or Email     153
Use Human Relations Skills to Convey Appropriate Tone     155
People are strongly interested in themselves     155
People prefer receiver-centered messages     156
People want to be treated as individuals     157
People want positive information     157
People don't like abrasive people     158
Understand the Distinction between Assertive and Aggressive Behavior     160
A Final Thought     162
Assignment Portfolio     162
Summary of Key Ideas     162
Key Concepts     163
Reviewing the Facts     163
Applying the Ideas: Recovering Lost Customers     163
Notes     166
Exceed Expectations with Value     167
Define A-Plus Value: What It Is     168
Recognize the cost of diminished perceptions of value     168
Create an Enhanced Sense of Intrinsic and Associated Value     170
Intrinsic value of the product itself     170
Associated value     171
Seven Ways to Enhance the Perception of Value      171
Build A-plus value with packaging     172
Build A-plus value with guarantees or warranties     173
Build A-plus value with goodness of product fit     173
Build A-plus value with memorable experiences     175
Build A-plus value with uniqueness and shared values     176
Build A-plus value with credibility     177
Build A-plus value with add-ons     178
A-plus value and your employees     179
A Final Thought     180
Assignment Portfolio     180
Summary of Key Ideas     180
Key Concepts     181
Reviewing the Facts     181
Applying the Ideas: Creating A-Plus Value     182
Notes     184
Give Customers A-Plus Information     187
Understand What A-Plus Information Is     188
Special informational demands of E-commerce     189
Know How to Produce A-Plus Information     190
Provide informational hand-holding     191
Select informational media carefully     191
Use Techniques That Enhance Message Clarity     193
Audit of your company's writing     193
Use some redundancy     194
Make key information easily accessible with graphics and icons     194
Create and Support Customer User Groups and Classes     195
Pay Special Attention to A-Plus Information in E-Commerce     196
Make customer support accessible     196
Honor the customer feedback loop     196
Evaluate Your A-Plus Information Efforts     197
Logging common questions (FAQs)     197
Audit your company's communication     197
A Final Thought     197
Assignment Portfolio     198
Summary of Key Ideas     198
Key Concepts     198
Reviewing the Facts     198
Applying the Ideas: Creating A-plus Information     199
Notes     201
Exceed Customer Expectation with Convenience     203
Understand What Is Meant by A-Plus Convenience     204
How to Produce A-Plus Convenience     205
Give serious regard to customer time and convenience     205
Consider the Use of Virtual Waiting Techniques     207
Match capacity to demand     208
Respond to how customers perceive the wait     208
Use virtual queues     208
Make Things Easier for Customers     209
Create once-and-done service     210
Make doing business easy     210
Offer ancillary services     211
Simplify the product     211
A Final Thought     211
Assignment Portfolio     213
Summary of Key Ideas     213
Key Concepts     214
Reviewing the Facts     214
Applying the Ideas: Giving A-plus Convenience     215
Notes     216
Managing Your Time and Tasks to Reduce Stress     219
What Are the Causes of Job Stress?     220
Unproductive job stress factors     220
Working conditions that may lead to stress     221
Five Key Skills for Better Time and Task Management     222
Target your efforts on the most important tasks     223
Be a goal-getter, not just a goal setter     224
Do the constructive things first     225
Foster teamwork     226
Avoid time wasters     227
Effectively Delegate (Even If You Are Not the Boss)     230
How delegation can go wrong     231
A Final Thought     231
Assignment Portfolio     232
Summary of Key Ideas     232
Key Concepts     232
Reviewing the Facts     232
Applying the Ideas: Managing Time, Tasks, and Stress     233
Notes     235
Get Employees to Give Great Service     237
Articulate a Vision: What Managers Should Do First     238
Plan a Strategy for Customer Loyalty     240
Organizing Processes, People, and Resources to Achieve the Vision     240
Lead and Motivate Employees     241
Create and Sustain an Effective Work Culture     242
Continuously Harvest A-Plus Ideas     244
Use brainstorming when you need creative ideas     244
Use nominal group process when appropriate     244
Control the Processes     245
Help employees set contributing goals     246
Empower and Engage Employees     246
Tie the Reward System to Appropriate Actions     247
A Final Thought     248
Assignment Portfolio     248
Summary of Key Ideas     248
Key Concepts     249
Reviewing the Facts     249
Applying the Ideas: Getting Employees to Give Great Service     250
Notes     252
Recognize the Emerging Trends in Customer Service     253
The Importance of "One-to-One" Personalization for Customer Service in the New Future      255
One-to-one opportunities with internal customers     256
Social and Economic Shifts Impacting Customer Service for the Future     256
Recognize changing demographics     257
New Interactivity Options for Creating Stronger Customer Relationships     258
Understand That Some Things Remain Consistent     259
Demand for fair value     260
Satisfy individual customer needs and wants     260
Create promoters     261
Apply relationship marketing     261
Gain customer share, not market share     261
A Final Thought     264
Assignment Portfolio     264
Summary of Key Ideas     264
Key Concepts     265
Reviewing the Facts     265
Applying the Ideas: Recognizing Emerging Trends     266
Notes     268
How to Lead or Participate in an A-Plus idea Generating Meeting     269
Index     277
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Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

I wrote this book in response to a need for a different approach to learning .tie skills needed to succeed in the challenging arena of customer service.

The other customer service books displayed in bookstores everywhere typically take one of two forms: They either tell the story of one company's efforts at boosting service quality, or they reveal a series of tips and ideas. These are fine as far as they go. I have written several such books myself. And books like this can have value so long as the reader effectively translates the ideas into application for his or her organization. But these books seldom show how to apply these diverse ideas to your organization.

The few textbooks available in customer service tend to offer over-simplified suggestions on how to phrase conversations, how to smile and polite with customers, and the like. Their simplicity defies the real world sere real people don't speak from scripts and real human relationships e complex and ever-changing.

This book takes a different approach. It ties together the best information from bookstore trade books and school textbooks—and then adds more. In this book you will find a clear and usable process for developing the kinds of skills, attitudes, and thinking patterns needed to win customer satisfaction and loyalty. The process includes developing

  • a heightened awareness of the challenges and opportunities,
  • the tools for dealing with unhappy customers by using the power of customer expectations and by creating loyalty,
  • the ability to lead, expand, and empower the service process,
  • specific skillsforprofessional success, and
  • a clear understanding of the future directions of customer service.

Perhaps no arena offers as much opportunity for organizational and professional success as customer service. It lies at the heart of any organization's reason to exist. The companies that do it well experience enormous profitability, marketplace acceptance, and genuine satisfaction among their employees.

Apply Customer Service and enjoy the rewards of professional excellence. Then, let me know how you applied the ideas. I can be reached at email: DrTimm@AOL.com.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author and editor would like to thank the following commentators for their expert reviews: Garland Keesling, Towson State University; Shek True, Fort Lewis College.

Paul R. Timm, Ph.D.
March 2000

Read More Show Less

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