In today'scompetitive market place what distinguishes one from another is its relationship with the customer maintaining it. With the continued corporate focus on customer service, customer relations and lifetime value of the customer, contact centre operations have acquired increased importance as the main hub of a customer'sexperience. Product quality and providing extraordinary service experiences separates the insignificant companies from the great ones. One of the leading challenges for today'smanagers is the training and motivating of agents to achieve excellence. While much attention has been focused on the technology and benefits of providing multiple channels for customer contact, little attention has been paid to handling the human part of the equation – training customer service representatives to field more than just telephone communications.
In this book, the authors intend to take world-class customer service in the new millennium and ?kick it up a notch?. In the food industry, the word ?lagniappe? is used as it is ?a small present given to a customer with a purchase?. For instance, if you buy a dozen breads at the bakery, you often get a ?free? one (called a baker'sdozen?). That'swhat customer service should be about – giving customers more than they expect. The authors believe in the maxim, ?A customer doesn'tcare what you know until they know you care; fix the customer, then fix the problem.? Research in recent years shows that all information exciting our nervous system first goes to the amygdala where it is checked for its emotional impact before being sent to the neo-cortex. This means that we feel before we think. If a customer does not feel taken care of, the impression will get embedded in the customer'semotional centre forever.
At the same time, people'sability to understand and manage their emotions improves their performance, their collaboration with co-workers and most importantly, their interaction with customers. In today'scompetitive market place, the ability of a company to provide human-to-human connection – back and forth live communication continues to be critically important. The fact is that the voice is the most natural and powerful human interface – real time or otherwise. This won'tchange as 25 years from now customers ?won'thave metamorphosed?. They are and will still be human beings driven by desires and needs.
We all agree people, process and technology are what make companies tick. For managers the ?people process? is the most important for it is they who make the difference. One of the biggest shortcomings of the ?people process? is that it is backward-looking, focused on evaluation and the jobs people are doing today. Far more important is whether the individuals can handle the jobs of tomorrow.
On reading through the book we find plenty of information on various topics, issues and concerns of customer care organised in such a way as to provide practical help right away. In short for the reader who wants a quick survey, the first chapter talks of the advantages of benchmarking.
(Macmillan India Ltd, 2/10 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002.)