on February 9, 2001
I have been working in customer service training for over a decade now and I've seen a lot of systems come and go. Lisa Ford's insights and ideas about customer service, however, are timeless. This book represent a compilation of the customer service ideas and techniques she has talked about over the years. It's great to have all of it in one place, and in a book format. I had been looking forward to the publication of this book for a while, and I have to admit that it exceeded my expectations. Not only did it talk about what good service is, but it goes a step beyond what other books do and talks about HOW to reach the level of exceptional service in your company. The book includes self-appraisals, ideas for team exercises, and numerous examples of good service and poor service. It is well written, very cohesive and, if sincerely adapted by a company, can turn-around any failing customer service program.
on April 20, 2005
If you or your business deals with customers, Exceptional Customer Service is worth a good read, or at least a good skim. The authors provide many ways of thinking about, and actually taking steps toward, improving your customer relations. Written in an informal, friendly style, I especially liked the fact that the book is mainly straight text, with few of the silly graphics or distracting sidebars so common in many similar books. And, although the book makes extensive use of real-world examples, you never feel as if the authors are name dropping. Rather, it is easy to see yourself in the examples, and believe that if these folks can improve their customer service, you can too. I guarantee that you'll come across several ideas for making customers happier so that they don't become a problem, as well as what to do if they complain.
Like many books in the common-sense business genre, ECS does go on a bit longer than it has to, although you won't miss much if you just skim rather than study the text. But don't forget to take a look at the exercises included in the book, especially if you are part of a customer service team. These exercises allow you to evaluate and improve your customer service incrementally, and without undue effort.
on October 21, 2007
Customer service seems to be one of those things that everybody
complains about, and it is also something that rarely seems to get
better . . . yet rather give up hoping that things will ever improve, there
is something that can be done; i.e., read EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER
SERVICE by Lisa Ford, David
McNair and Bill Perry.
This book inspired me with its many real examples of companies
who get it right . . . such as the case with Ben and Jerry's ice cream:
* They have incredibly effective letters to customers (you'll enjoy this
story). A customer who was seven months pregnant had a midnight
craving for Chunky Monkey ice cream. She managed to persuade
her husband to brave a blinding snowstorm for a pint. Upon scooping
the ice cream into a bowl, she was most disappointed at the
sparseness of walnuts in the product. She was accustomed to many
more from past experience. She wrote the company and complained. The
letter responding to her situation was great! First, the company apologized
to her for the "wimpy, anemic, under-chunked pint." What's more, they
included a coupon for a free pint because, as the letter stated, "you have to
feed that baby." Score! They just created a customer experience.
Then there was this other example:
* An idea at Marriott Hotels costs very little, and it makes a tremendous
statement. Marriott has put together a Sweet Dreams package. It
consists of a small bud vase, a flower, and some homemade cookies.
Hotel staff members are encouraged to give it to customers who are
having difficulties that the hotel really can't fix. For example, a guest
enters the hotel complaining that she's tired, feels awful, and her
four-hour plane delay didn't help. That's the cue for the staff person
to send this guest a Sweet Dreams. While the hotel couldn't control
the circumstances regarding this guest's day, they could control how
they responded to it. And better yet, when one employee noticed
a guest with an awful cough, a box of cough drops was included with
the Dreams package. Now that's exceptional service! Don't think
for a minute that customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising
haven't paid for that box of cough drops.
I particularly liked the many fine exercises in EXEPTIONAL
CUSTOMER SERVICE . . . they help show you can make
a difference; e.g., by doing the following:
* Reflect back on your last five encounters with customers
(in person or over the telephone). Think through how you handled
each situation, then try and identify and write down something you
could have done to improve your response by 1 percent.
In addition, I liked the accompanying cartoons by illustrator
Tate Nation . . . they put a smile on my face at the beginning
of each chapter.
My only quibble with the book was the fact that since it
was written by three authors, I would have liked all parts of it
to have been written that way; e.g., using such terms as "we"
and "our" throughout . . . instead, too many times I'd find myself
reading "I saw" or something similar and wondering which author
actually wrote that section.
on December 8, 2008
In today's competitive modern business world good customer service just isn't going to be good enough. I like this book's approach to providing exceptional customer service. A useful read - I particularly benefitted from the exercises, self appraisals and the inspirational examples of exceptional customer service. Your customers deserve exceptional - and they will increasingly be demanding it!
Bestselling author of "Bare Knuckle Customer Service", "Bare Knuckle Selling" and "Bare Knuckle Negotiating"