Managing Knock Your Socks off Service

Managing Knock Your Socks off Service

Managing Knock Your Socks off Service

Managing Knock Your Socks off Service

Synopsis

In our increasingly connected world, customer service can make or break a business. Companies that excel keep customers coming back--and those who don't soon discover that word spreads fast. The difference is in how managers train, coach, and support frontline employees. Extensively revised with today's empowered, web-savvy consumer in mind, Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service shows managers and supervisors how to:

• Find and retain service-oriented people • Understand customer needs, expectations and desires • Build a service vision • Design a user-friendly service delivery process • Involve and inspire employees • Recognize and reward good performance

The third edition features new chapters on: learning from lost customers; inciting passion and incentivizing service; fostering trust; and delivering great customer experiences online. In short, everything readers need to ensure their frontline employees become their company's biggest asset.

Excerpt

Has customer service gotten worse, or have we just become a nation of gripers and whiners?

My father was a big fan of the comic strip Mutt and Jeff. His favorite had Mutt and Jeff enjoying a bit of verbal sparring. “If everyone saw like I did,” boasted Jeff, “Everyone would want my wife.” “If everyone saw like I did,” quipped Mutt, “No one would want your wife.”

It was my first lesson on the “eye of the beholder” side of understanding relationships and human experiences. So, when someone asked me the question at the top of the page, I thought about my dad's favorite joke.

Remember the scene in the movie Back to the Future when a customer pulls into a gas station circa the 1950s and two squeaky clean attendants cheerfully wash the windshield and carefully check the engine fluids? Audiences laughed at the obvious spoof.

Was that great customer service? I don't remember thinking that it was back in the 50s and 60s. It was just neighborly care by local employees with the luxury of being able to serve one customer at a time. They worked for an enterprise with reasonably healthy profit margins, friendly competitors, and freedom from having to deal with litigious consumers, restrictive regulations, or impatient shareholders. They served customers with limited choices, modest expectations, and fewer time constraints.

Fast forward to today. Customer care has been crowded to the back of the line by a host of familiar pressures. Profit margins have been squeezed by global competitors, convincing more executives to compete on operational efficiency and becoming low-cost providers. Cost-containment became the watchword, leading to wholesale outsourcing of customer service functions to low-wage, off-shore call centers, reduction of customers’ toll-free phone access, driving customers to automation and self-service, slashing of value-adding amenities, and making service training for frontline employees an afterthought rather than a necessity.

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