Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines

Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines

by Adam Toporek
Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines

Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines

by Adam Toporek


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On the front lines of customer service, every day presents new and unexpected challenges--and even the most dedicated employees can be caught unprepared. They need confidence. They need training. They need help.

Those who work on the front lines of customer service never know what new and unexpected challenges await them each day. But they do know one thing--they will be needed. But how can you prepare for the unexpected? How can customer service reps get the training and confidence required to tackle the unknown?

In Be Your Customer's Hero, internationally recognized customer service expert Adam Toporek provides the answers to preparing for the surprises awaiting the CSR. Through short, simple, actionable advice, in quick, easy-to-read chapters, this invaluable guide shows customer-facing CSRs how to:

  • Achieve the mindset required for Hero-ClassTM service
  • Understand the customer's expectations--and exceed them
  • Develop powerful communication skills
  • Avoid the seven triggers guaranteed to set customers off
  • Handle difficult and even irrational customers with ease

Armed with the tools and techniques in Be Your Customer's Hero, you will have all they need to transform themselves into the heroes their customers need.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814449059
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 04/22/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,084,075
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

ADAM TOPOREK is a customer experience strategist and founder of CTS Service Solutions, a consultancy that provides organizations with real-world, customer-centric solutions through workshops and training. He authors the popular blog Customers that Stick.

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION a wrote Be Your Customer’s Hero for one reason: It’s the book I wish I’d had during my years of owning and running retail service businesses. I’d always wanted something that showed frontline employees not just what they needed to know to be competent at customer service but what they needed to know to be great at it. I wanted a book that was easy to read and spoke realistically about the challenges they faced, that would help them take charge of their own mindset and better understand the mindset of their customers, and that would serve as both an instruction manual and a reference manual. In short, I wanted a book that would prepare my frontline employees for the difficult, unclear situations that often present themselves in the real world of customer service. Be Your Customer’s Hero is that book.

This book is about the reality you face at work every day, where even your best customers can be complicated, irrational, and easy to disappoint. Where you can deliver perfectly and still not meet the customer’s ever-shifting expectations. Where you have policies to follow, forms that customers must sign, and problems created by departments you’ve never even spoken to. Where you can find yourself constrained by limited resources or facing difficult decisions because you aren’t able to give the customer what she wants. And where you can sometimes find that customers are mean, are bullies, or are just plain crazy.

The techniques you’ll discover in this book aren’t magic, but they can be magical. Much of what you’ll learn is based on my own experience working with customers and customer-facing teams, and it is extremely powerful. This book is not an academic exercise; it’s designed to provide you with actionable tips and tactics you can use immediately. Take what works for you; discard what doesn’t. No matter your experience level, you’ll find ideas and approaches that can have a major impact on how you work with customers and that will make your job infinitely easier and less stressful.

Be Your Customer’s Hero is designed not just to educate but to motivate. It covers frontline customer service from A to Z, from basics like smiling all the way to advanced techniques like using sales-closing tactics. If you’ve had any customer service training, you’ve likely learned some of this before. Yet there’s a gap in the customer service world between what everyone knows and what they actually do. Even the best of us can fall into bad habits and need to be motivated to re-embrace the fundamentals.

This book is structured in 10 parts with short chapters. Each part focuses on a single topic you can explore to make yourself a better customer-facing professional. Parts One through Three deal with the mentality of customer service; they'll help you see inside your customer’s head—and your own. Parts Four through Six present the skills you need to become great at frontline service; they focus on great teamwork, customer service basics, and communication skills. Parts Seven and Eight show you how to handle difficult situations and work with nightmare customers; they explore specific techniques you can use to succeed in the most challenging circumstances. Part Nine covers customer service on the digital front lines, and in Part Ten, you’ll see how you can put together everything you’ve learned.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Before We Get Started 5


Chapter 1: The Customer Is Always ____________ 7

Chapter 2: Winning Is Not a Customer Service Goal 10

Chapter 3: Do You Know Your Mental Rules? 13

Chapter 4: Be Proud, and Then Swallow Your Pride 15

Chapter 5: Keep Your Cool When the Ball Comes at You 18

Chapter 6: Are You Renting Customers Space in Your Head? 21

Chapter 7: It’s True: Your Attitude Does Determine Your Altitude 24


Chapter 8: Customers Have Mental Rules Too 27

Chapter 9: What’s In It for Me? 29

Chapter 10: All Customers Are Irrational 31

Chapter 11: Everyone Is Rushed, Everyone Is Stressed 34

Chapter 12: You Don’t Know Your Customer’s Story 37

Chapter 13: Everyone’s Been Burned Before 40


Chapter 14: Introducing the Seven Service Triggers 43

Chapter 15: Service Trigger #1: Being Ignored 46

Chapter 16: Service Trigger #2: Being Abandoned 47

Chapter 17: Avoiding Service Triggers #1 and #2 50

Chapter 18: Service Trigger #3: Being Hassled 55

Chapter 19: Service Trigger #4: Being Faced with Incompetence 58

Chapter 20: Service Trigger #5: Being Shuffled 62

Chapter 21: Service Trigger #6: Being Powerless 66

Chapter 22: Service Trigger #7: Being Disrespected 68


Chapter 23: Why Teamwork Matters 71

Chapter 24: Rise Above, Don’t Stoop Down 73

Chapter 25: “It’s Showtime” 75

Chapter 26: The Clothes Make the Rep 78

Chapter 27: Always Be Professional 80

Chapter 28: Set the Next Shift Up for Success 82

Chapter 29: Five Reasons Customer Documentation Matters 84

Chapter 30: Document Quickly and Effectively 87

Chapter 31: When to Help a Teammate with a Customer 90


Chapter 32: Make That First Impression Count 93

Chapter 33: How Are You Today? 97

Chapter 34: How to Handle “I’m Just Browsing” 99

Chapter 35: Don’t Be a Helicopter Rep 102

Chapter 36: Can You Remember One Thing? 104

Chapter 37: The Name Game Is No Game 107

Chapter 38: Judge Not, Lest Ye Miss an Opportunity 109

Chapter 39: Become the Customer’s Personal Detective 112

Chapter 40: Never Talk Badly About Customers with Customers 115

Chapter 41: WOW Customers in the Blink of an Eye 117


Chapter 42: Customer Service Lessons Grandma Taught You 121

Chapter 43: Give Your Customers Your Undivided Attention 123

Chapter 44: Is Your Body Language Saying the Right Things? 126

Chapter 45: Smile When You Dial 130

Chapter 46: The Phone Is Different, and the Same 132

Chapter 47: Use BRWY Communication 135

Chapter 48: Want to Help Your Customers? Shut Up 138

Chapter 49: Ask Questions, Lots of Questions 141

Chapter 50: Jargon Is a Wall Between You and the Customer 143

Chapter 51: 10 Power Words You Must Use 145

Chapter 52: Assure Accountability 149

Chapter 53: Always Get Buy-In for Your Response Times 153

Chapter 54: Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep 155

Chapter 55: The Art of the Pivot 157


Chapter 56: Complaints Should Come with Bows on Them 161

Chapter 57: Listening Is a Start, Understanding Is the Goal 163

Chapter 58: CATER to Your Customers with This Service Process 165

Chapter 59: Focus on What You Can Do, Not on What You Can’t 167

Chapter 60: Making It Right Is More Important Than Being Right 170

Chapter 61: Let Upset Customers Punch Themselves Out 174

Chapter 62: What to Do When the Customer Won’t Stop Talking 178

Chapter 63: The Art of Framing 180

Chapter 64: Sales Techniques That Help Close the Deal 183

Chapter 65: Use Your Authority 186

Chapter 66: Don’t Blame the Policy for the Problem 188

Chapter 67: Fine Print Isn’t Always So Fine for Customers 190

Chapter 68: Handling Customer Service “Experts” 192

Chapter 69: When a Complaint Is a Scam 194


Chapter 70: Applying What You Know When the Heat Is On 197

Chapter 71: There’s No Silver Bullet for a Hand Grenade 199

Chapter 72: 13 Go-To Tactics for Defusing Angry Customers 201

Chapter 73: How to Draw the Line with a Customer 205

Chapter 74: How to Handle Customer Threats 208

Chapter 75: What to Do When a Customer with an Audience Goes Crazy 214


Chapter 76: The Channel Impacts the Message 217

Chapter 77: Privacy and Security Are the New Triggers 219

Chapter 78: Good Email Is an Art 222

Chapter 79: The Social Customer Is Here to Stay 225


Chapter 80: What Really Makes a Hero-Class Customer Experience? 229

Chapter 81: Adopt the Mindset of a Hero 233

Chapter 82: Be Your Customer’s Hero 235

Putting What You’ve Learned into Practice 237


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