• December 1, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Required Reading: Service with a (Real) Smile

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Why do customers take their business elsewhere? Usually it comes down to a perceived sense of indifference, emanating outward from the business owner, manager, or customer service representative. Most of the time, customers don't even complain -- they simply leave. In Award-Winning Customer Service: 101 Ways to Guarantee Great Performance, Renee Evenson offers assistance for anyone responsible for improving customer service. Packed to the brim with quick tips, tools, and advice for problem-solving, the book offers instant answers on important topics. CRM magazine:
You have over 30 years of experience in the field of customer service, but what motivated you to write this book? Evenson: When my last book, Customer Service Training 101, was released, the number-one question that interviewers and people who bought the book asked was, "Once you train your employees, what can you do to ensure they're going to consistently give great customer service?" I realized the need for a companion book for managers and leaders to teach them how to keep that momentum going every day. I've included important topics: planning, communicating, leadership, training, teamwork, motivational feedback, customer-focused meetings, conflict resolution. All of these topics are important components for leaders to grasp if they are going to take a step up the ladder to success. CRM magazine: Of the 101 rules, which two or three are your favorite? Evenson: My personal favorite is #92 -- "Develop an Attitude of Gratitude." When you train yourself to be grateful for the people, things, and events in your life, you change your mindset. If you want to give great customer service you must want to give great customer service. This begins with appreciating each customer. For the second, I'd have to say it's #20 -- "Listen, Listen, Listen." Communication is the heart and soul of forming strong relationships and I believe that developing the ability to listen well is the most important component of communication. When you listen well, you respond well -- and when you respond well, you send a strong message that you truly care about that person. CRM magazine: What will readers find most interesting about your book? Evenson: This is a quick read and a handy reference that you can [either] read cover-to-cover or turn to one tip or chapter topic and find the answers you need. Giving exceptional customer service is vital to survival in today's business environment, yet sometimes leaders are so busy and stressed out they get off track and need fast help. Any experience level -- from the veteran to the new manager to anyone wanting to demonstrate leadership abilities -- is going to find that fast help in this book. Other Page-Turners:
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