20+ Resources That Will Make You Better at Customer Service
With customer expectations rising constantly, every support specialist should be ready to work on their knowledge & skills. One of the most effective ways to do so is to stay up to date with dedicated resources.
No matter if you’ve been working as a customer service rep for a very long time, or you’ve just started your career – learning from the best always pays off, especially in such a fast-paced environment. To make it easier for you to keep taking in new tips, tricks, and tools – we’ve created a list of 20+ resources that are bound to make you better at customer service. Here they come.
Before you start following the latest customer service trends and tactics, you should start with the basics. It’s no secret that books are the best resources to learn from, mostly because they took a lot of time and effort to be written in the first place. That’s precisely why you can be sure that their author did their best to share their insights, and these insights are definitely worth reading.
1. The Service Culture Handbook
Rumour has it that Jeff Toister helps customer service teams unlock their hidden potential – so it shouldn’t be surprising that his Service Culture Handbook provides practical tools and worksheets to guide the readers through implementing each and every concept themselves. It truly shows the impact of a customer-focused approach on customer loyalty and business results, which should be a good enough reason to give it a read.
2. The Best Service is No Service
The title might seem rather controversial, but its authors Bill Price and David Jaffe reveal wrong approaches and metrics to implementing and measuring customer service. In their opinion, customer service is only needed when your business makes a mistake – and eliminating such mistakes is the best way to satisfy your customers. They also outline seven principles to deliver the best service (that ultimately leads to “no service”) – encouraging you to take advantage of them as well.
#3 Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless
Do you keep focusing on customer acquisition rather than retention? It might be high time to consider boosting loyalty for once. The author, Jeffrey Gitomer, shares his own encounters with quite horrific examples of poor service, and explains how these cases could be improved with the focus on customer loyalty. What’s more, he includes a variety of self-evaluating quizzes designed to pinpoint individual strengths and weaknesses, helping you to apply his ideas in practice.
4. The Effortless Experience
Speaking of customer loyalty – Matthew Dixon along with his colleagues have their own idea on how to boost it properly. According to the authors, reduced customer effort is the one true driver of loyalty. The idea that companies must delight customers by exceeding service expectations is simply incorrect since loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be “wowed”; they just want an effortless experience, and get what they paid for.
5. Hug your haters
Did you know that 80% of companies claim to deliver outstanding customer service, while only 8% of their customers agree? What’s more, with social networks being omnipresent, writing complaints gets easier than ever. As a result, your “haters” can now express their dissatisfaction fast and publicly. They are not exactly your problem – but ignoring them is. That’s precisely why the author Jay Baer shows how to deal with such critics, drawing on meticulously researched case studies from businesses of all types and sizes from around the world.
It’s no secret that the tips & tricks for offering outstanding customer service change constantly. Books are a valuable source of knowledge, but in order to keep up with the changes – you might want to follow blog posts and online articles as well. Luckily, there are a few sources worth mentioning in particular.
6. Win The Customer
Flavio Martins happens to be included among the Huffington Post top 100 customer service professionals and runs a blog exactly on this subject. Win The Customer has a lot of his own insights, paired with regular guest posts from customer support specialists. If you’re looking for a regularly updated source of knowledge, you should definitely check it out.
7. LiveAgent Academy
Not to brag about it, but LiveAgents owns an insightful blog, and a knowledge base called LiveAgent Academy on top of that. It has it all – answers for basic questions about customer service, as well as definitions and guides to more advanced concepts and tactics.
8. ClientSuccess Blog
ClientSuccess is another source that’s worth mentioning, especially since it regularly publishes engaging articles about how customer success leaders are implementing changes, solving real challenges and truly caring about their customers once they’re at it. If you’re looking for some inspiration, it doesn’t get better than that.
CustomerThink might not have the most attractive layout out there, but it doesn’t change the fact that it has plenty of interesting articles to learn from. Actually, rumour has it that the site attracts 150,000 visitors from over 200 countries each month, which should be convincing enough to add it to the list of the best customer service resources.
10. Shep Hyken
If you only want to choose one blog to follow, Shep Hyken might as well be the one. He’s a well-known speaker that publishes a lot of relevant insights on his blog and provides a summary of the top customer service articles every now and then. Speaking of – check out our interview with Shep Hyken!
Interestingly enough, a lot of top writers and bloggers nowadays actually started by publishing their pieces on Medium. You can still find them there, along with plenty of other customer service specialists and customer-centric companies sharing their thoughts.
Don’t have time to read books and follow blogs on a regular basis? There’s no need to beat yourself up. You can easily stay up to date with the latest news and insights by listening to podcasts while you’re busy doing other things. It might not seem like it at first, but there are many series to choose from.
12. The Modern Customer
If you’re looking for a regularly produced set of podcasts, The Modern Customer is probably the best one out there. Its owner, Blake Morgan, interviews industry leaders to gather a lot of helpful insights about building customer-centric companies and leveraging technology in the process. A regular dose of inspiration guaranteed.
13. Support Ops
Sadly, Support Ops is not running anymore – but plenty of its podcasts are still relevant up to date. As a matter of fact, you can find more than 150 episodes in there, covering every topic you could possibly think of revolving around customer experience.
14. Focus on Customer Service
Focus on Customer Service might also not be around anymore, but similarly to the Support Ops – it still has a lot of interesting podcasts in-store, all featuring brands who are offering amazing customer service via social media. Since social media is quickly becoming the channel of first resort for many customers, it’s definitely worth listening to.
15. Experience This
Experience This has it all: inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more. It’s definitely one of the most upbeat podcast series out there, which should be a good enough reason to give it a try.
16. Crack the Customer Code
Looking for something more serious? Crack the Customer Code is all about learning from business leaders of all kinds – from Fortune 500 executives, authors, retail magnates, and entrepreneurs who truly stand out in the customer support realm.
What’s often underrated when it comes to customer service resources are social networks and online communities. Let’s face it: learning on your own is a great practice, but what can really make a difference in terms of becoming better at customer service is discussing the learnings with other professionals and like-minded individuals. Here’s when you can do exactly that:
17. Facebook Groups
There are plenty of customer support-related groups across social networks that you join, and many of them are moderated properly to make sure only the most relevant posts are visible to the group members. Take the Facebook group for customer service & customer support professionals, as an example.
18. LinkedIn Groups
Similar rules apply to all LinkedIn groups that revolve around customer service. Customer Support Professionals and Customer Service Champions are great examples – they have thousands of members who believe that customer service and customer experience are important for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
19. Support Driven
Support Driven is a great platform for all customer support professionals. You can easily network with other specialists, share your thoughts, learn new skills, and even browse job opportunities on top of that.
20. We Support
We Support is a resource like no other. It happens to be a great newsletter for customer support reps, paired with a busy Twitter account that you can follow and engage with easily, especially if you prefer using this social network over other channels.
Quora is a Q&A platform that covers a wide range of topics, including customer support. You can simply browse the questions and ask your own whenever you’re looking for specific answers. As a result, it can become a real knowledge mine for all sorts of subjects.
Start getting better at customer service
Learning from industry leaders and networking with customer support professionals are just a couple of the methods to get better at customer service. Don’t forget to test all these insights in practice – after all, the first-hand experience is what can really take your knowledge & skills to the next level.
Originally published here.