Serving Internal and External Customers / Edition 1

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Overview

Exceptional customer service leads to customer loyalty and retention and, ultimately, to organizational success. It happens whenever, wherever and however customers interact with the organization.

Strategy, Systems and People topics are presented in a manner that allows the reader to share experience, broaden perspectives and supplement existing skills.

Research and expert commentary substantiate and demonstrate the effects that make a difference to any organizations bottom line.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130283412
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 8/8/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Swartzlander brings to this title a range of professional and teaching experience. She brings decades of experience in management, business development, research, and retail sales.

Dr. Swartzlander has her Ph.D. from Ohio State University in Consumer Economics. She has taught at several major universities including the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee. She was recently nominated for the American Marketing Association's Distinguished Marketing Professor award.

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Read an Excerpt

This textbook is intended for an undergraduate customer service course. The textbook explains customer service and its importance in the context of organizations and explains methods of individual behavior and interpersonal communication to improve customer service skills. Exceptional customer service leads to customer loyalty and retention and, ultimately, to organization success. Customer service can be found in every business and organization. Everyone in an organization provides service to external or internal customers during their work day. Customer service happens whenever, wherever, and however customers interact with the organization.

Whether you are just starting out in your career or have years of experience, you will recognize better or alternative ways to say and do things that will provide exceptional customer service. You may have heard that customer service is common sense. You may have heard that customer service is plain, ordinary good manners. It is both. It is also learning and practicing specialized customer service skills so they become as natural as breathing. On an individual level, better customer service skills lead to less stressful, more productive, and more satisfying work lives.

The textbook is based on a model of customer service in which customers are the focus and the strategy, systems and people of organizations and businesses interact to provide what internal and external customers need and expect. The first part of the book sets the stage for learning the customer service skills in the rest of the text. Chapter 1 explains an encompassing view of customer service and the importance of exceptional customer service in the twenty-first century business environment. Chapter 2 discusses the design and implementation of customer-oriented strategy and systems. Customer expectations and the value and creation of customer loyalty are covered in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 explains the concept that employee satisfaction equals customer satisfaction and outlines the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction. In Chapter 5, the textbook looks at individual attitudes and styles as they apply to performance and teamwork. Chapters 6 through 10 provide guidelines and recommendations to improve listening effectiveness, nonverbal and verbal communication skills, and telephone and electronic communication skills. Chapter 11 presents information on solving problems, enhancing creativity, making decisions, and resolving conflicts, all of which are essential in a customer service provider's job. Chapter 12 covers techniques for providing service to specific categories of challenging customers, including angry, wrong, demanding, dishonest, and abusive customers. It also addresses diversity and the special needs of multicultural customers and customers with disabilities. In Chapter 13, we illustrate how to resolve customer problems and keep customers when our best efforts fail.

The chapters include Experience Discussion and Skill Development exercises so students can share their wide-ranging experience, broaden their perspective, and supplement their skills. Each chapter has a project, exercise, or case at the end to practice the recommendations and discover different and better ways to solve customer problems.

One of the goals in writing this textbook was to provide evidence that exceptional customer service does make a difference to the bottom line and that the prescribed behavior accomplishes its intention. Consequently, each chapter contains information on research studies and expert knowledge with accompanying source citations.

While writing this text, I found a list of "what students should learn in college." These are primarily "soft" skills that usually are not taught in college. However, they are all directly related to providing exceptional customer service. This list is as follows:

  • listening
  • effective communication
  • understanding people
  • value-first method of dealing with others
  • working as a team
  • making effective decisions
  • how to capture opportunity to change
  • taking responsibility and ownership of a job
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Table of Contents

1. CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Definition of Customer Service.

Customers' Perceptions of the Quality of Services.

Importance of Customer Service.

Relationship of Customer Service to Marketing, Operations, and Human Resources.

Customer Service Model.

Exercise—Be Your Own Customer.

2. CUSTOMER SERVICE STATEGY AND SYSTEMS.

Customer Service Model.

Customer Service Strategy.

Characteristics of an Exceptional Customer Service Strategy.

Customer Experience Strategy.

Service Fairness.

Definition of Systems.

Characteristics of Exceptional Customer Service Systems.

Systems Improvement.

Exercise—Blueprinting and Analyzing a System.

3. CUSTOMERS.

External and Internal Customers.

Customer Loyalty.

Customer Needs and Expectations.

Customer Expectations and Loyalty Research.

Benefits of Exceptional Customer Service.

Costs of Exceptional Customer Service.

Project—Mystery Shopping.

4. PEOPLE.

The People Component.

Internal Customer Service.

Frontline Employees' Role.

Employee Satisfaction Equals Customer Satisfaction.

Factors Contributing to Employee Satisfaction.

Next-Generation Workforce.

Case—The Root Cause of the Problem.

5. EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE.

Elements of Exceptional Performance.

Positive and Negative Attitudes and Mind-Sets.

Emotional Intelligence.

Self-Talk.

Personal Style Tendencies.

Teamwork.

Personal Management Techniques.

Project—Customer Service Communication Skills.

6. NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION.

Importance of Nonverbal Communication.

Definition and Functions of Nonverbal Communication.

Body Language.

Voice Cues.

Use of Space.

Touch.

Artifactual Communication.

Time.

Case—I Contact.

7. VERBAL COMMUNICATION.

Importance of Verbal Communication.

Acceptable Verbal Communication.

Unacceptable Verbal Communication.

Difficult Conversations.

Written Communication.

Business Etiquette.

Civility in the Workplace.

Case—Insufficient Service.

8. LISTENING.

Importance of Listening Skills.

Effectiveness of Listening.

Stages of Listening.

Listening Barriers.

Types of Listening.

Individual Differences.

Developing Better Listening Skills.

Case—Not Mulch Listening.

9. TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION.

Effective Telephone Communication.

Best Practices.

Pre-Greeting Best Practices.

Greeting Best Practices.

Conversation Best Practices.

Closing Best Practices.

Telephone Actions.

Telephone Specialty Features.

Wireless Communication.

Case—Lack of All Aid.

10. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION.

Technology.

Automated Response Systems.

E-Mail Communication.

Importance of E-Mail Communication.

E-Mail Issues.

E-Mail Management.

Netiquette.

E-Mail Format.

E-Mail Composition.

E-Mail Operations.

E-Mail Response Management Systems.

Company Websites.

Fax Communication.

Case—Taxing Obfuscation.

11. PROBLEM SOLVING.

Customer Service Problems.

Thinking.

Styles and Thinking.

Environment and Thinking.

Creativity.

Mind Mapping.

Brainstorming.

Consensus Decision Making.

Conflict Resolution.

Exercise—Conflict Resolution.

12. EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Exceptional Customer Service in Challenging Situations.

Dissatisfied or Angry Customers.

Mistaken Customers.

Problem Customers.

Customer Responsibilities.

Diverse Customers.

Multicultural Customers.

Adaptation.

Customers with Disabilities.

Emotional Labor.

Case—Nowhere You Want to Be.

13. CUSTOMER PROBLEM RESOLUTION AND RECOVERY.

Customer Complaint Behavior.

Problem Resolution and Recovery Strategies.

Problem Resolution and Recovery Systems.

Problem Resolution and Recovery Procedures.

Case—Differential Indifference.

Index.

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Preface

This textbook is intended for an undergraduate customer service course. The textbook explains customer service and its importance in the context of organizations and explains methods of individual behavior and interpersonal communication to improve customer service skills. Exceptional customer service leads to customer loyalty and retention and, ultimately, to organization success. Customer service can be found in every business and organization. Everyone in an organization provides service to external or internal customers during their work day. Customer service happens whenever, wherever, and however customers interact with the organization.

Whether you are just starting out in your career or have years of experience, you will recognize better or alternative ways to say and do things that will provide exceptional customer service. You may have heard that customer service is common sense. You may have heard that customer service is plain, ordinary good manners. It is both. It is also learning and practicing specialized customer service skills so they become as natural as breathing. On an individual level, better customer service skills lead to less stressful, more productive, and more satisfying work lives.

The textbook is based on a model of customer service in which customers are the focus and the strategy, systems and people of organizations and businesses interact to provide what internal and external customers need and expect. The first part of the book sets the stage for learning the customer service skills in the rest of the text. Chapter 1 explains an encompassing view of customer service and the importance of exceptional customer service in the twenty-first century business environment. Chapter 2 discusses the design and implementation of customer-oriented strategy and systems. Customer expectations and the value and creation of customer loyalty are covered in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 explains the concept that employee satisfaction equals customer satisfaction and outlines the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction. In Chapter 5, the textbook looks at individual attitudes and styles as they apply to performance and teamwork. Chapters 6 through 10 provide guidelines and recommendations to improve listening effectiveness, nonverbal and verbal communication skills, and telephone and electronic communication skills. Chapter 11 presents information on solving problems, enhancing creativity, making decisions, and resolving conflicts, all of which are essential in a customer service provider's job. Chapter 12 covers techniques for providing service to specific categories of challenging customers, including angry, wrong, demanding, dishonest, and abusive customers. It also addresses diversity and the special needs of multicultural customers and customers with disabilities. In Chapter 13, we illustrate how to resolve customer problems and keep customers when our best efforts fail.

The chapters include Experience Discussion and Skill Development exercises so students can share their wide-ranging experience, broaden their perspective, and supplement their skills. Each chapter has a project, exercise, or case at the end to practice the recommendations and discover different and better ways to solve customer problems.

One of the goals in writing this textbook was to provide evidence that exceptional customer service does make a difference to the bottom line and that the prescribed behavior accomplishes its intention. Consequently, each chapter contains information on research studies and expert knowledge with accompanying source citations.

While writing this text, I found a list of "what students should learn in college." These are primarily "soft" skills that usually are not taught in college. However, they are all directly related to providing exceptional customer service. This list is as follows:

  • listening
  • effective communication
  • understanding people
  • value-first method of dealing with others
  • working as a team
  • making effective decisions
  • how to capture opportunity to change
  • taking responsibility and ownership of a job
Read More Show Less

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