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Service Failure

Book Description

Customer service goals have been articulated, messages drilled, and incentive programs created. But many employees still deliver lackluster service. What does it take to get them functioning as stellar frontline representatives of the company? Rather than offering another set of tactics for improving customer service, this book takes a novel approach by rooting out the real reasons employees aren’t delivering the service they should. The results can be both surprising and illuminating, such as: • Company culture doesn’t always support service excellence • Over-emphasis on cost reduction often increases the cost of service • Employees are torn between doing the right thing for the customer and following policy • Poor products and services can make helping the customer nearly impossible • Employees’ interests often don’t align with company goals Once core problems are identified, the book offers corrective solutions, including redirecting coaching efforts, revisiting policies and procedures, clarifying roles and responsibilities, and more. Filled with inside stories from well-known organizations and the latest scientific research, Service Failure helps people overcome the obstacles preventing them from doing their very best.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Introduction
  7. Part I: Understanding Obstacles to Outstanding Customer Service
    1. Chapter 1 Customer Service Doesn’t Come Naturally: Hidden Obstacles to Serving Customers
      1. The Service Consistency Challenge
      2. The Customer Service Disconnect
      3. Natural Obstacles to Service Greatness
  8. Part II: Overcoming Obstacles to Outstanding Customer Service
    1. Chapter 2 The Customer Is Not Always Right: Equipping Employees to Handle Challenging Customers
      1. The Customer Is Often Wrong
      2. Customers Have Varied Expectations
      3. The Self-Sabotaging Customer
      4. The Abusive Customer
      5. Solution Summary: Overcoming Challenging Customers
    2. Chapter 3 They’re Your Customers, Not Mine: Aligning Employees’ Interests with Those of the Company
      1. The Principal-Agent Problem
      2. The Problem with Financial Incentives
      3. The Unexpected Side of Employee Recognition
      4. Customer Service Standards That Backfire
      5. Solution Summary: Getting Employee Buy-in
    3. Chapter 4 Your Employees Are Double Agents: Bridging the Gap Between Doing the Right Thing for the Customer and Following Company Policy
      1. The Double Agent Problem
      2. Weighing Risk vs. Reward
      3. Getting Employees to Do the Dirty Work
      4. Solution Summary: Avoiding the Creation of Double Agents
    4. Chapter 5 Mutually Assured Dissatisfaction: Getting Beyond Broken Systems That Cause Employee Disengagement
      1. Broken Systems Lead to Disengaged Employees
      2. Learned Helplessness Arises from Broken Systems
      3. The Dangers of Employee Disengagement
      4. Leaders Blind to Reality
      5. Solution Summary: Avoiding Mutually Assured Dissatisfaction
    5. Chapter 6 Conformity Is Contagious: Creating a Company Culture That Encourages Outstanding Customer Service
      1. Social Pressure Influences Behavior
      2. Culture Is What We Do
      3. Solution Summary: Creating a Customer-Focused Culture
    6. Chapter 7 Attention Is in Short Supply: Getting Employees to Notice What Customers Really Need
      1. The Curse of Multitasking
      2. Paying Too Much Attention Isn’t a Good Idea, Either
      3. Listening to Customers Can Be Difficult
      4. Solution Summary: Helping Employees Pay Better Attention
    7. Chapter 8 What Role Will You Play Today? Emphasizing the Primary Responsibility to Delight Customers
      1. When Tasks Define Our Roles
      2. Extreme Role-Playing
      3. Blind Obedience
      4. Solution Summary: Helping Employees Establish the Right Roles
    8. Chapter 9 The Problem with Empathy: Encouraging Employees to Empathize with Their Customers
      1. The Source of Empathy
      2. Communicating on Different Levels
      3. Self-Centered Behavior That Leads to Poor Service
      4. Solution Summary: Helping Employees Demonstrate Empathy with Customers
    9. Chapter 10 Emotional Roadblocks: Helping Employees Overcome Their Own Emotions
      1. “Don’t Take It Personally” Is Bad Advice
      2. Emotions Are Contagious
      3. The High Cost of Emotional Labor
      4. Solution Summary: Helping Employees Overcome Emotional Roadblocks
    10. Chapter 11 Casualties of Cost Consciousness: Seeing Customer Service as a Profit Generator Rather Than a Cost Center
      1. Fuzzy Math
      2. Less Is Often Less
      3. Short-Term Gains That Spread Customer Ill Will
      4. Solution Summary: Positioning Customer Service as a Profit Generator
  9. Part III: Putting Lessons into Action
    1. Chapter 12 Getting Started
      1. What to Know Before You Get Started
      2. The First Three Steps in the Journey to Outstanding Service
      3. A Final Note: Your Worst Employee Might Be Your Best
  10. Index