AccuConferenceAccuConference

Aug
21
2008
Customer Service Maranda Gibson

How is your customer service? Customer service is defined as how you handle every contact between you and your customer--via email, phone, in-person greeting, marketing message, guarantee, terms of return, account maintenance, billing, and so on.

Customer service may be a dying art if the books available on Amazon.com are any indication. Two books published in 2000 get the highest ratings both on and off Amazon, but I'm perplexed -- doesn't anyone focus on customer service anymore?

Ron Zemke is known for his many books on customer service in the 1990s and his 2000 book, Knock Your Socks Off Service Recovery, looks to provide a similar high level of experience and best practice destined to help any business struggling to improve their service reputation.

Have you dropped the ball recently regarding a customer complaint? Have you messed up while handling a client account, or upset a customer who vowed to never do business with you again? This book is for you. A great repository of helpful hints and how-to steps destined to get your customer service revived and back on track.

But these mad-as-hell customers can be wooed back through skillful, planned ‘service recovery.' And, surprisingly, customers who experience world-class Knock Your Socks Off service recovery become your most loyal customers--and are a source of continuing business for years to come.
[T]he book explains:
  • The economics of recovery--what it costs when you lose customers, and how little it can cost to win them back.
  • The processes, policies, and technology a company must have to ensure an effective, real-time recovery system.
  • he manager's role in sustaining an outstanding recovery system--through training, coaching, empowering, supporting, inspiring, and rewarding great service providers."

Another book published in 2000, written by Jim Sterne, is Customer Service on the Internet: Building Relationships, Increasing Loyalty, and Staying Competitive, 2nd Edition.

Amazon.com writes, "As businesses have overcome technical, financial, and promotional hurdles to developing online commerce, they are now confronted with the core issue of all businesses in a competitive market: providing quality and cost-effective customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Jim Sterne, who led the pack in the earlier stages of Net commerce with his book World Wide Web Marketing, has written a book that every company using the Net should consider giving to every employee involved in online commerce. Contains great practical information, case studies of companies that have paid attention to online customer service (and are doing well because of this attention), and an appreciation for the critical edge provided by caring about your customers."

Sterne's book appears to be out of print now (not an issue about the effectiveness of his writing, but rather of his publisher's ability to sell it), but used copies are available from Amazon resellers.

These two books are a good starting point for any company looking to solidify their business in the eyes of their clientele. I'll definitely update you if I find any other books on customer service that seem applicable. Any other books on customer service that you can recommend?

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