101 Activities for Delivering Knock Your Socks off Service

101 Activities for Delivering Knock Your Socks off Service

by Performance Research Associates, Jill Applegate, Ann Thomas

Paperback(Special ed.)

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Today’s customers are demanding service that is faster, better, and more personalized than ever before. How can organizations ensure that they are prepared to meet that challenge? The latest addition to the bestselling Knock Your Socks Off Service® series, 101 Activities for Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service provides readers with the practical tools and cost-effective training required to meet their customers' needs. Written in the same accessible and humorous style that made Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service so popular, this companion guide takes the unique position of seeing things from the customer's perspective—providing a collection of fun, fast, and enlightening exercises to teach customer service managers and employees valuable ways to help their organizations provide top-notch service. You’ll discover how to create an action plan for improvement, reviewing topics such as: how to say no, empathy vs. sympathy, service recovery, listening, email and telephone skills, customers from hell, winning words and soothing phrases, anticipating customer needs, building reliability, customer feedback, keeping a stress log, and more. These simple but effective activities take only minutes, but deliver truly powerful, lasting results.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814414446
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 06/17/2009
Edition description: Special ed.
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 925,869
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ann Thomas of Performance Research Associates, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) carries on the legacy begun in 1972 by the late service legend, Ron Zemke. The firm consults with corporations and nonprofits of all sizes around the globe.

Jill Applegate of Performance Research Associates, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) carry on the legacy begun in 1972 by the late service legend, Ron Zemke. The firm consults with corporations and nonprofits of all sizes around the globe.

Read an Excerpt



Over the years, as we've worked with thousands of customer-service professionals around the world, we have heard a common request. As people have read the book Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service, or attended a workshop based on its concepts, they've wondered if any follow-up training activities existed that they could use with their service teams. What these customer-service leaders sought were short, impactful learning exercises to help build on or reinforce ideas found in the book or discussed in our workshops.

We realized we would be remiss if we didn't listen closely to our customers and try to meet their needs. Indeed, it would be tantamount to not walking our service talk. That is a big reason this book now rests in your hands. We hope, in fact, not to have simply met your needs with this collection of Knock Your Socks Off training exercises but to have exceeded your expectations. While the 101 activities included here serve as natural companion pieces to the book and workshops, they also are designed to be used in stand-alone fashion. Any customer-service team in virtually any industry can benefit from the exercises without prior exposure to the Knock Your Socks Off Service line of products.

We created the activities with the demands of the busy customer-service function in mind. Whether you're serving customers in a vast call center, on the floor of a retail organization, or at the window of a financial institution, your plate runneth over with customer questions, problems, new products or services, or new technologies. We know there are days when you are fielding these questions, troubleshooting the problems, learning about the new products, or mastering the new technologies, and you barely have time to come up for air.

That's why most of the activities in the book can be completed in 30 minutes or less. They are designed to be used as motivational sessions before your team starts its work shift, as part of brown-bag lunch seminars, during regular teambuilding sessions, or as short add-ons to existing customer-service training sessions. The activities will help you sustain your competitive service edge without the significant expense of additional training or seminars.

The exercises come in a variety of formats and lengths, from brainstorming to role-plays to games to secret shopping trips. But underlying all is a common theme: an activity grounded in adult learning principles that stress learning by doing, have a focus on real-world customer-service challenges, and ease the transfer of training back to the workplace. We believe adults learn best when they are fully engaged and participative, and when training is based not only on the instructor's or manager's expertise but also on the hard-won lessons and insights shared by frontline service professionals. Customer service is at once both one of the most demanding and one of the most rewarding jobs on the globe. It can make clear the difference between organizations that succeed and organizations that struggle, because the latter haven't yet learned one of the paramount rules of customer service: When customers truly feel you have their best interests at heart, they'll stick to your organization like Velcro?

What you do is vital to your organization, now more than ever before. We hope you use these activities to continue building and honing the customerservice skills and attitudes that give your organization that all-important service edge, and that you share with your team a lot of fun and laughs in the process.

Excerpted from 101 ACTIVITIES FOR DELIVERING KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF SERVICE by Performance Research Associates, with Ann Thomas and Jill Applegate. Copyright ©  2009 Performance Research Associates. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents


Our Thanks

Introduction: About This Book


The Fundamentals of Knock Your Socks Off Service

1 What Customers Want, What Customers Expect

2 Who’s Your Customer?

3 Knock Your Socks Off Service

4 Customers’ Ever-Changing Needs

5 The RATER Factors

6 How Do I RATE?

7 The Value of Reliability

8 Reliability: Promises, Promises

9 Reliability: Secret Shopper

10 Assurance: The Language of Competence

11 Assurance: The Knowledge Game

12 Assurance: Secret Shopper

13 Tangibles: Take a Field Trip

14 Tangibles: Sensory Perception

15 Tangibles: Customer Feedback

16 Tangibles: Secret Shopper

17 Empathy vs. Sympathy

18 Empathy: Building a Statement

19 Empathy: Scripting Tough Situations

20 Empathy: Partnering for Practice

21 Responsiveness: Identifying the Barriers

22 Responsiveness: Proactive vs. Reactive

23 Responsiveness: Role-Play

24 RATER Self-Assessment

25 The Ten Deadly Sins of Service

26 The Customer Is Always.. . the Customer

27 Educating Your Customer

28 Filling the Knowledge Gap


The How-To’s of Knock Your Socks Off Service

29 Good Question: Honesty

30 Identify the Rules: Red Rules/Blue Rules

31 Making Exceptions

32 Why Customers Don’t Trust

33 Create an Environment of Trust

34 Barriers to Effective Listening

35 Go Ahead, I’m Listening

36 Follow My Lead

37 Listening: Taking a Mental Detour

38 Crafting the Best Questions

39 The Name Game

40 Who Knows?

41 How Did I Do?

42 When Questions Go Wrong

43 Winning Words and Soothing Phrases

44 Scripting Better Responses

45 Give a Nonverbal Cue!

46 Face-to-Face Charades

47 Receiving Nonverbal Cues

48 Telephone Checklist

49 Be a Standout on the Phone

50 Just Phone Home!

51 Telephone Etiquette: Secret Shopper

52 Tongue Twisters with a Twist

53 E-Mail vs.Telephone

54 Written Communication Review

55 Practice E-Mail Communications

56 E-Mail Etiquette

57 Communication Sensitivity

58 It’s a Small World

59 The Generational Divide

60 Generations at Work

61 Saying “No,” Positively


Seamless Knock Your Socks Off Service

62 Communicating Across Functions

63 Hitting the Target

64 Visit an Internal Customer

65 It’s Not My Job

66 Mindbenders

67 It’s All About Kindness

68 Details, Details, Details

69 Creating a Cycle of Service

70 Analyzing Moments of Truth

71 Details That Make a Difference

72 Value-Added Service

73 Good Selling Is Good Service

74 So Many People to Thank

75 Making “Thank You” Personal

76 Thank-You Round Robin


The Problem-Solving Side of Knock Your Socks Off Service

77 The Service Recovery Process

78 How Ready Are You to Recover?

79 Using the Well-Placed “I’m Sorry”

80 Finding the Right Fix

81 Putting Recovery Knowledge into Action

82 Tell Me a Story

83 Make Customers Your Partners in Problem Solving

84 Maximize Your Web Site Impact

85 Matching Atonement to the Error

86 Fix the Customer First, Then the Problem

87 Fix the Customer Role-Play

88 Calming Obnoxious Customers

89 Customers From Hell® Hall of Shame

90 Difficult Customer Match Game

91 A Question of Control


Knock Your Socks Off Fitness

92 Stress Reducers

93 Create a Stress Log

94 Coping with Change

95 The Web of Support

96 The Power of Positive Talk

97 Keep It Professional

98 Learning Assessment

99 The Power of Curiosity

100 For All You Do, This Note’s For You

101 What’s Important to Me?



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