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Thursday, June 7, 2012

High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service

Some things haven’t changed: Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty are key to business success.

Some things have changed: technology has irrevocably altered customer communications and customer expectations by making them hyper-informed and increasingly impatient.

What this means to business: to deliver the customer service necessary to maintain customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty, it is critical to understand and effectively use the Internet and other technologies.

So, given these  parameters, what do you do? One of your first steps should be to read Micah Solomon’s new book High-tech, High-touch Customer Service. Without hesitation, I can recommend this as the best guidebook for this reality that I have found. Get it. Read it. Put it to work.

In this book, Solomon explains the disruption and opportunity that technology and social media have created and helps you navigate the ever changing landscape of commerce that now includes Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn and smart phones (and that’s just scratching the surface).

As Solomon says, “What was plenty fast this time last year seems draggy now to the very same customers because of changing expectations brought by mobile technology, social media-induced restlessness...and other factors."
Supporting this book’s expert advice on building a customer centered organization is solid evidence along with interesting anecdotal real-life stories of customer service excellence and failures; all presented in a fast, easy-to-read format that blends clear and practical solutions, written intelligently in a style that is relaxed and personal (and often quite funny).
Here are a few of gems pulled directly from High-tech, High-touch Customer Service:
“Being an ace at social media won’t make you excellent, or even moderately good at providing customer service any more than knowing how to work a bicycle pump will turn you into a veterinarian.”
“Here’s what to strive for through people, systems, and technology, set in an admittedly dopey rhyme for easy recollection:
If you can anticipate
You can differentiate.
If customers feel at home
They're unlikely to roam.”
“For customer-facing employees, the right people can be identified by my acronym ‘WETCO’ (you’ll never forget this if you picture a big wet dog at Petco).
Warmth: Simple human kindness.
Empathy: The ability to sense what another person is feeling.
Teamwork: An inclination toward ‘Let’s work together to make this happen’ and against ‘I’d rather be doing this myself.’
Conscientiousness: Detail orientation, including an ability and willingness to follow through to completion.
Optimism: the ability to come back and to not internalize challenges.”
“Can you spell F-I-A-S-C-O? The formula is:
Small Error + Slow Response Time = Colossal PR Disaster.
That is, the magnitude of a social media uproar increases disproportionately with the length of your response time.”

In today’s highly competitive market – one that is incredibly influenced by ever changing, rapidly developing technology – you need a guidebook for customer retention and loyalty that can keep you ahead of the competition, Micah Solomon’s High-tech, High-touch Customer Service fills that need expertly.
NOTE: This is Solomon’s 2nd book. His first: Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit (co-written with Leonardo Inghilleri) is also, in my mind, a “must read” for any success-oriented businessperson.

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