• September 1, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Required Reading: Service With a Smile?

Article Featured Image
The smartest, most effective service reps know that the key to turning interactions into exceptional customer experiences is a little behavioral psychology. In Great Customer Connections, Richard Gallagher writes about converting scientific research into remarkably easy-to-apply business practices. CRM
magazine's Colin Beasty spoke with the author about his book. CRM magazine: How can good customer service training techniques improve a company's standing with its customers more than a multimillion-dollar CRM implementation can? Gallagher: The overarching point of the book is that most people think customer service is a nice person with a good attitude. While that is partly true, my experience is that it's about specific communication skills based on known communication and psychological practices. A perfect example is a training session I once did with a parking and traffic bureau, which makes a living by towing people's cars. When I asked them how they would respond to a citizen asking about his or her car, they would reply with "You shouldn't have parked here" or "You'll have to pay a fine." I then asked them how people reacted to that. They said, "Well, really badly." Understanding how to diffuse a situation with an annoyed customer is a matter of speaking against human nature. There's a structured, psychological methodology in terms of the mechanics of what you say that lets you speak to the other person's mindset. CRM magazine: Can these training techniques also be used by industries whose primary customer touch points are outside of contact centers, sales forces, and marketing departments, such as cashiers at a retail store? Gallagher: Absolutely. Many times these lower-level employees don't have any training or professional experience dealing with customers. They lack the training and, thus, the confidence to help themselves help the customers. Training such as this gives them that power and confidence. [It is the opposite of] feeling like they have no control over when the phone rings next or when the next person shows up at the counter. CRM magazine: What will readers find most interesting about your book? Gallagher: The most important chapter for CRM's audience is the chapter on coaching. I look at the ways to use these same communication skills to coach the people you work with. That's because there is one interesting trend within the CRM industry and it's your fault. We measure people on more things than ever before. When you do that, it's important to use positive strength-based training to focus on the problem and not the person. Other Page Turners:
  • Women spend $3.7 trillion as consumers and $1.5 trillion as business owners, and are also extremely brand loyal and refer new business at twice the rate of men. Having the know-how to sell to and retain women as customers is critical. In Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women, Delia Passi offers a six-step process that clearly and definitively shows salespeople how to win the sale and keep their share of the $4.3 trillion women's market.
  • Too many companies are still using spreadsheets to keep track of their sales compensation, while others don't want to be hassled with installing a pricey, on-premise compensation solution. The answer? Xactly Sales Compensation for Dummies. In this book author Mark Chambers tells readers how to best use Xactly on-demand sales compensation to incentivize the right way and sell more.
  • Most companies will say that excellent customer service is what distinguishes them from competitors, but most customers wouldn't necessarily agree. Everybody knows it costs a company more to acquire a new customer than it costs to keep one, so why is customer service at an all-time low? Author Ed Horrell provides that answer in his new book, The Kindness Revolution: The Company-Wide Culture Shift That Inspires Phenomenal Customer Service.
  • "Sales is more than a science, it's an art. The skillful combination of structure and free thinking, process and people, and logic and emotions," says author Steve Martin in his new book Heavy Hitter Selling: How Successful Salespeople Use Language and Intuition to Persuade Customers to Buy. Martin says the goal of his book is to help salespeople use human nature, language, and intuition to build trusting relationships with customers and persuade them to buy.
  • CRM Covers
    for qualified subscribers
    Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
    Buyer's Guide Companies Mentioned