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Detailed Book Information
The Customer Service Companion
Yes! Press, 1996
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Section One: The Essentials of Service
Chapter 1: Customer Service: You Know The Secret
We are all customers, and we all have customers. In fact, your experiences
as a customer, the lessons youve learned, both good and bad,
have made you an expert on service. You know the secret to giving
good service, and you learned it long ago. As a consumer, youve
been served well and served poorly. You know how you want to be treated
and how you dont. You know, firsthand, how an employees
positive or negative attitude can affect you. This awareness can help
you in your work every day.
When it comes to service, most of us know what we should do, but
doing it consistently is tough. Yet, when you recall your most positive
consumer experienceshow it felt to receive great service
chances are, you think of the person, not the product. Remember an
individual who treated you especially well, singled you out, and made
the entire transaction pleasant and memorable. You are that person
to your customers; you are the one they will remember. You understand
the power of a smile and how ones friendly, helpful manner leaves
a positive, lasting impression.
The secret in service is people, and that means you. Selling or serving
customers well is simply a matter of putting what you know into practice.
And its no secret that the more you practice, the easier it
Customers remember people over products. The
real secret to service is you!
Chapter 5: People First, Paper Second
How many times have you requested information from a sales or service
representative, only to have them hand you a piece of paper instead
of offering a face-to-face explanation? Were you disappointed? Were
you looking for a friendly exchange instead of a flyer in your hand?
Here is a simple, yet powerful customer service secret: people first,
It helps to remember that service and sales involve building relationships.
Paper can wait, but people wont. If customers are too quickly
presented wi th, What is your account number? or Do
you have any insurance? or Here, this brochure explains
they may just walk out the door. You retain customers by building
positive, long-term relationships, and customers remain loyal when
they believe there is something in it for them. So get them invested.
When your customers feel as if they share some kind of special relationship
with you, they will be more likely to return.
Yes, you can actually be too quick to offer informationeven
answers. Just remember to take a moment and establish a relationship
before you address the customers request. Putting people first
and paper second will help your customers think of you firstevery
Service works best when you put peoples
needs first and paperwork needs second.
Chapter 19: Counting What Really Counts
Have you ever noticed that when were having a bad day we tend
to keep track of it, counting every irritation or inconvenience that
occurs. Youve heard the familiar complaint, This is the
third time today something lousy has happened! And while this
may be a natural reaction, seldom, on a good day, do we exclaim, This
is the third time today something great has happened!
So why do we keep track of the negatives but not the positives? Counting
bad incidents simply adds to our stress, so consider the benefits
of tallying the good things instead. For example, you might discover
that far more positive events occur than negative ones. Keeping track
of good experiences puts you in a better frame of mind, motivating
you to help others feel more positive, too. This increases the chances
of everyone having a better time; what a nice thought!
And you just might find yourself anticipating incidents to celebrate
rather than anguishing over the next terrible thing thats certain
to happen any moment now. Its worth a try, isnt it? Just
remember, you are the scorekeeper; its up to you to make the
good times count!
Irritations are what you find when you allow
negatives to enter your mind.
Section Two: 101 Quick Reminders on Customer Service
Attitude is what makes a boring job fun or a fun job boring.
People first, paper second!
Giving good service means you go home feeling good about yourself instead
of bad about others.
If you treat your family like customers and your customers like family,
things tend to work out pretty well.
Only 20% of your customers give you problems, so why let 20% of your
customers ruin 80% of your day?
(there are 95 more of these gems in the book that you can put in newsletters,
on posters, or use as paycheck envelope stuffers)
Section Three: Service Skills in Action
When the Customer is Wrong
Earlier in The Companion, we discussed the idea that while customers
are often wrong, there is no future in making them feel wrong. You
will get further with people if you are tactful, diplomatic, and able
to deflect their objections or arguments.
The following approaches are equally effective in both spoken and
Respond with a neutral statement first: I appreciate your asking
about that... Other people have been under that impression... I know
other customers who thought that, too
And then gently correct the customers perceptions: Actually,
what you really need to do is... The correct procedure is... Heres
the situation in a nutshell
Let the customer know the next step
in the process. So once we get this information from you we should
be able to
Now that you understand exactly what we need, we
can go ahead and
So all we need to do now is
Express your appreciation and anticipation of a positive outcome:
I do appreciate your flexibility
I think youll be pleased
with the results
Perhaps in the future we will have more options
In customer service, it pays to keep things simple and cordial. These
examples will help you do that, every step of the way. Remember
the better you handle a situation, the more likely your customer will
The 4R Method for Fast Recovery
It can be stressful listening to complaints, criticism, or conflicting
perceptions, yet it is part of your job. Heres one way you can
quickly recover from service stress and refocus on the positive parts
of your job. 4R means Recovery: Relax, Review, Resolve, Reset.
Relax. Once the stressful interaction is over, take a nice
deep cleansing breath and let your body relax. Now that the situation
is over, its in your best interest to let it go. Remind yourself
that you can hear it and clear it. Release any tightness
or tension in your face and shoulders and take another nice, deep
Review. Take a moment to review what just happened. Immediately
make notes or take whatever prompt follow-up action you promised.
Considering what you now know, determine how you might handle a similar
situation in the future. Identify one thing youd do differently,
and one thing you feel good about having done.
Resolve. Remind yourself that while you cannot control how
other people feel or behave, you are totally and completely in charge
of how you feel and behave. Resolve to remain objective and forget
your bad feelings so you can effectively move on to more important
Reset. Now that the situation is over, reset your attitude.
You know that replaying a past situation is self-defeating, stressful,
and an unproductive use of your time. Consciously choose to let it
go and move forward. You can reset your attitude as often as you need
to. Smile and give yourself a compliment. You deserve it!