Required Reading

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Sure, you can use air-travel time--crammed in to your seat with your laptop--to answer email and review reports. Or, you could spend the time more comfortably on a bit of self-development with the latest page-turners on customer service, call center management, sales compensation, and more. Frazzled bosses, unqualified employees, and rude customers--all are contributing forces to potentially disastrous customer service encounters, according to Why Service Stinks...and Exactly What to Do About It!
(Dearborn Trade Publishing), by T. Scott Gross. This witty handbook analyzes the customers' role--and how their actions can encourage a positive experience--while creating a template for both the model customer service program and the model employee using various criteria. Based on his survey of 10,000 consumers nationwide, Gross has written a multidimensional, extremely useful and entertaining resource that encourages the concept of "thinking like a customer." Special Edition--Using Microsoft CRM (Que Publishing), by Laura Brown and John Gravely, is an extensive instructional guide designed to assist users with the new features provided by Microsoft CRM. The program is targeted to small and midsize companies with at least one IT staffer. From setting up the software to using it to manage customer service and support your sales force, this book covers all the essentials to help shift toward customer-centered operations. The guide examines proven methods founded on the authors' experience in developing CRM systems in large corporate and small business environments alike. As interactive media alternatives replace person-to-person interactions, the call center is becoming more pivotal in corporate communication and marketing efficiency than ever before. Cases in Call Center Management (Purdue University Press), by Richard Feinburg, Ko de Ruyter, and Lynne Bennington, examines real call centers in operation and their responses to such central issues as human resource management, operational management, strategic management, and technology. The book investigates the strategies of companies like Charles Schwab, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, and Mercedes-Benz, and includes a resource guide with hundreds of ideas for improving your call center. Reputation, trust, and communication are crucial factors for CRM success. The authors of The Relationship Advantage: Become a Trusted Advisor and Create Clients for Life (Dearborn Trade Publishing), Tom Stevenson and Sam Barcus, also claim that the responsibility for key customer relationships should be in the hands of executives and senior managers--not in a company's sales force--for winning results. This book details the relationship-building techniques implemented by top consulting firms, and gives advice on conducting valuable meetings to develop a profitable, customer-oriented business. If setting ideal target pay or establishing quotas has got you in a frenzy, Compensating the Sales Force: A Practical Guide to Designing Winning Sales (McGraw-Hill), by David Cichelli, offers guidance to maximize profit potential for any type of firm. Featuring step-by-step, detailed methodologies of winning sales compensation plans, this book is an insightful how-to for managers. Targeting the strategic, tactical, and technical spheres of sales-compensation-plan design, the handbook has been endorsed by executives from Microsoft and Cisco Systems, as well as one of the most respected authors in compensation, Patricia Zingheim, who penned Pay People Right!: Breakthrough Reward Strategies to Create Great Companies. Self-Serve CRM
Faced with the pressure of meeting their earnings commitments, many CEOs often find themselves urging reps to develop new sales opportunities in an increasingly informed and competitive market. The 10 Immutable Laws of Power Selling: The Key to Winning Sales, Wowing Customers and Driving Your Profits Through the Roof (McGraw-Hill), by James DeSena, is filled with case studies, examples, and stories that reveal the fundamentals of becoming an efficient sales leader. Featuring companies like American Express, Harris Corporation, and Siemens, it includes methods to identify client needs, manage multiple customer priorities, avoid common traps, and more.
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