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High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce Hardcover – May 23, 2012
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STEVE WOZNIAK, Apple co-founder: "Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the-minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology."
Jonathan Feldman, Contributing Editor, Information Week: "In High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, Micah Solomon, better than anybody I've seen, illustrates how to achieve a level of customer engagement that makes an organization thrive in our era of tech-enabled business success."
"Micah Solomon takes on one of the stickiest questions in business today--how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology without losing the soul of the customer experience--and explains it with great savvy. High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service is a must read."
-- Jay Coldren, Vice President, Marriott
"To create a personal connection in today's fast-paced environment businesses you must listen and respond at the speed of light - and create a culture built on service. Solomon illustrates how to anticipate customer expectations and deliver a memorable experience every time." Ray Davis, President and CEO, Umpqua Bank
"Brilliantly written and often belly-laugh humorous!" Brian Schoenbaechler, President and Managing Partner, Integracore
In an age of Twitter, smartphones, and self-service kiosks, high-tech but still high-touch customer service is the answer.
Today’s customers are a hard bunch to crack. Time-strapped, screen-addicted, value-savvy, and socially engaged, their expectations are tougher than ever for a business to keep up with. They are empowered like never before and expect businesses to respect that sense of empowerment—lashing out at those that don’t.
Take heart: Old-fashioned customer service, fully retooled for today’s blistering pace and digitally connected reality, is what you need to build the kind loyal customer base that allows you to survive—and thrive. And High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service spells out surefire strategies for success in a clear, entertaining, and practical way. Discover:
• Six major customer trends and what they mean for your business
• Eight unbreakable rules for social media customer service
• How to effectively address online complainers and saboteurs on Yelp, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and other forums for user generated content
• The rising power of self-service—and how to design it properly
• How to build a company culture that breeds stellar customer service
High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service reveals inside secrets of wildly successful customer service initiatives, from Internet startups to venerable brands, and shows how companies of every stripe can turn casual customers into fervent supporters who will spread the word far and wide—online and off.|
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Solomon's insights helped to extend and give more detail to the broad stroke concepts I learned reading Tony Hseih's books Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose; A Round Table Comic. Which were more specifically about culture building.
Using case studies and interesting (and sometimes very funny) vignettes, Solomon makes what would normally be a pretty boring topic fascinating.
Honestly, I decided to read this book because I wanted to demystify some things about using social media to communicate with my customers. I got all the answers I was looking for on that front, and a whole lot more.
I am now convinced that customer service is the new marketing. Learn or become part of the dead pool. If you want to keep your business ahead of the curve and start really anticipating your customer's needs - this book is an awesome place to start.
Lastly - as an experiment - I took a chance and did as Solomon suggests at the end of the book. He actually gives you his contact info and invites you to use it. I set my kindle on the nightstand - picked up my iPhone and wrote him an email. It was almost kind of ridiculous how fast he responded - and I am not talking about an auto-response. He answered all of my questions as if we had been friends for years. He practices what he preaches. I would recommend this read to anyone that has an interest in making sure his or her business survives the next 3-5+ years.
Learning to treat individual customers as individuals, honoring individual preferences unique to that customer, is the key to business success. While this statement, found in Chapter 1 of the book, has always been accurate, learning to treat the virtual customer as an individual is more challenging. The challenge is compounded by the `activist' mentality whereby customers now demand an alignment of company values with their own and they express this sentiment with their buying choices. These are the types of issues that are addressed here by the author.
Solomon examines both positive and negative examples of how companies have responded to customer issues in the new era. As an example, let's take a close look at Chapter 4; The Art of Anticipation. To introduce the concept of `anticipatory' service, Solomon utilizes Ritz-Carlton, whose credo includes, "The Ritz-Carlton ... fulfils even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests". To expand on the anticipatory experience, Solomon examines a typical trip into an Apple store and how Apple has mastered the art of anticipatory service. For effect, Solomon discloses the experience he had years ago when he ordered his first Macintosh and compares it to the experience he had recently when ordering his last Mac. The contrasts are start and clearly delineate the advances the company has made in anticipatory service. The chapter goes on to include other hit and miss examples of anticipatory service. Most, but not all, of the chapters conclude with a "your point is" section which recaps the crucial points to remember.
Along the journey, there is good information here about creating and maintaining corporate culture, hiring people with the right attitude, social media and how to position yourself correctly, principles of successful self-service, providing for disabled customers, and avoiding what is perhaps the common mistake in the digital age many companies make, using technology to complicate the customer experience into something more harmful than it is useful. Haven't we all experience having to spend countless time jumping through hoops before we can ever get the opportunity to speak to an actual human, only to find out they speak very limited or broken English and really can't answer our questions?
That last point is really what this book is all about. While technology has advanced business like nothing else, one aspect of business - customer service - is often made much more difficult by the very technology that assures business success in today's world. If not used correctly, that technology brings with it many pitfalls that must be avoided. Solomon's book will help you avoid those pitfalls and utilize the technology to the best of your ability.