If you were to sneak into the offices of corporate America, flip open the credenzas, and take a peek inside, you would likely encounter a plethora of different reading material. You’d find manuals and guides that relate to the job, you’d encounter some steamy lunchtime reads, and you might even come across a few items that will cause you to wonder how well your really know your co-workers, after all. But how many books dedicated to improving customer service do you think you would find?
The truth is that many companies believe that their tried and true methods work just fine–and they see no reason to change. And, this unwillingness to disrupt the status quo can spell trouble in this increasingly competitive economy. After all, your customers are changing with the times–and so must you.
If you have noticed a dearth of great customer service picks in your library, here are five great books on customer service that will prove useful in your business.
1. Fish! by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen
If you have ever witnessed the Seattle Pike Place Fish Market’s fishmongers in action, you were likely in awe of not just their highly skilled precision and elaborate technique, but you were, probably, also impressed with how much they appear to enjoy their work. And this joy rubs off on their customers.
In Fish!, the fictitious manager of a Seattle finance company decides that both she and her team could learn a few valuable lessons from Lonnie, one of the market’s renowned fishmongers and his cohorts. And learn she does! Crammed full of great topics from choosing your work attitude and the value of play to being present in the moment and making someone else’s day better, this fun read will have you re-thinking your entire approach to every aspect of your workplace, particularly how you serve your clientele.
2. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
Yes, the internet has indelibly changed the way we do business. And, yes, social media has given customers–happy and disgruntled–a public platform to sing a company’s praises or launch a viral verbal attack. But, as The Thank You Economy reminds us, one thing remains the same–people love people who treat them well. And, since people are the face of your company, you need to teach them the value of the well-known “do unto others” adage. Even in this high tech era, this age-old advice has never been more sage.
With celebrated entrepreneur and Crush It author, Gary Vaynerchuk, at the helm, you will learn what these global changes mean, how your company can go about providing more personalized service, and the steps to take to make sure that your customers love your brand.
3.The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli
If most businesses attempted to do what Starbucks does–brew a cup of coffee and sell it for as much as seven times the competitors’ prices–they wouldn’t last long. So, how does Starbucks keep its customers coming back for more, time after time? Well, that is the mystery that author, Joseph A. Michelli, strives to solve in this book.
Thanks to behind-the-scenes access, Michelli has managed to create a helpful guide to the Starbucks philosophy, which has been broken down into five easy-to-digest principles–principles that the reader can learn from and, possibly, implement. One caveat–multiplying your prices by seven is not recommended.
4.The Nordstrom Way by Robert Spector
When it comes to excellence in customer service, Nordstrom rules supreme. And, according to every one of Fortune‘s “most admired” and “best companies to work for” lists, they possess the secret of keeping both their customers and the people who serve them incredibly happy.
In The Nordstrom Way, you will have the privilege of learning how your company can follow in Nordstrom’s giant and impeccable footsteps. Tackling important topics like the link between fostering client loyalty and giving your staff the authority to make customer decisions, tips for embedding a customer service culture throughout your entire business, and the importance of hiring the right people, you will come away much better prepared to compete in the client service industry.
5. Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
Have you ever wondered what causes glitches in customer service? This is the perfect book for you. Outside In strives to help companies just like yours create a roadmap to providing excellence in client service. A good roadmap will help you avoid dangerous divots and rocky routes–and this book does exactly that. Yes, by identifying these hazards in advance, you will be better able to keep your valued customers satisfied.
But what exactly do Manning and Bodine say these hazards are? While many companies are quick to point the finger at their customer service staff, many problems are caused by employees who never have contact with the consumer at all. Thanks to Outside In, you will be able to foster a “Customer Experience Ecosystem,” in which each and every employee works to put the customer first.
So push aside those dusty manuals and that dog-eared copy of 50 Shades. By making room for these five enlightening reads, you will be able to take your company to the next level in customer service–five-star excellence.
What is your favorite “customer service” read? Why?
This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer, avid blogger, and devourer of books. She operates two blogs–The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.