Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service

 Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service

Author: Performance Research Associates
Pub Date: October 2011
Print Edition: $18.95
Print ISBN: 9780814417553
Page Count: 224
Format: Paper or Softback
Edition: Fifth Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417560

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What You Do Is Critically Important

“It’s not enough to merely satisfy the customer;

customers must be ‘delighted’— surprised by

having their needs not just met, but exceeded.”

—A. Blanton Godfrey

Serving customers. The two words cover so much. Answering

questions. Solving problems. Untangling corporate logjams. Fixing

what’s broken and finding what’s lost. Soothing the irate and

reassuring the timid. And time after time, performing the business

equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Not too long ago, working in customer service was just

about as thankless a job as a person could find. Sales? That

was a job with a future. Marketing? Now there was a title with

some prestige. Digital marketing? Wow, the wave of the future.

Advertising? What mystique! Web page design—really cool!

But customer service? Backwater. A burden. A career path to

nowhere. Fellow employees looked down their noses at

“those people who deal with whining customers.” And customers—

well, they mostly seemed to see customer service as

a title for not very bright people who woke up most mornings,

looked in the mirror, grinned wide, and said to their reflections,

“This is going to be a fun day. I’m going to go down there

and annoy the first 217 people I talk to.” And then did just

that. Not exactly positive images.

In the late 1990s, about the time of the debacle,

professional business watchers began to re-learn something important.

They discovered that organizations that had dedicated

themselves to working hard at giving their customers superior

service were producing better financial results. These organizations

grew faster and were more profitable than the organizations

that were still working as hard as they could to give their

customers as little as possible, whether online, over the phone,

or face-to-face. Now, in the second decade of the new millennium,

it’s not just about focusing on customers, it’s about creating

loyal ones. That’s where the real money is.

In short, companies that emphasize total customer service

make more money and keep customers longer than companies

that don’t.

Researchers also started to notice that highly successful

service organizations had lower marketing costs, fewer upset

and complaining customers, and more repeat business—

customers were “voting with their feet” and beating a path

back to the doors of the companies that served them well.

What’s more, good service had internal rewards: Employee

turnover and absenteeism were lower and morale and job

satisfaction higher in these same organizations. Companies

that asked employees to make customers happy had happier


Almost overnight, being customer-focused, understanding

and meeting customer needs, and coddling customers with

Tender Loving Care became a critical organizational goal. And

received spotlight attention. Books were written. Banners hung.

And speeches made—all trumpeting the importance of customer

service. A revolution in the way customer service was

viewed and valued began—and continues to this day.

In the two decades since the start of the latest service

revolution, we’ve all learned a lot about what it takes to create

and sustain a service advantage. As the world grows ever

smaller, we’ve learned that good service requires a new sensitivity

to the cultural differences and varied service expectations

of customers we serve around the globe. As Baby

Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials continue to collide

in the workplace, we’ve learned that each generation has distinct

service preferences that we need to account for in how we

plan or deliver service. And for all we’ve learned, for all that

has been written and said, the most important part of creating

a “service advantage” is still... you.

What you do is important. What you do is work—hard

work. Answering questions. Solving problems. Untangling

corporate logjams. Fixing what’s broken and finding what’s

lost. Soothing the irate and reassuring the timid. Matching

people you do business with with just the right products and

services, and helping them enjoy and get the most out of those


Twenty years ago, Ron and Kristin penned the original

Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service to share with you

what we had learned about quality customer care during fifteen

years of watching and working with thousands of customer-

oriented customer service professionals. People just like

you who provide great service over and over and over again;

true Knock Your Socks Off Service pros who make their customers’

lives and jobs simpler instead of more difficult, more

interesting and less boring—and who have a heck of a good

time doing it, too.

In the ensuing two decades we have had the opportunity

to work with thousands of customer service professionals

worldwide. And we have learned even more about the fine art

of delivering world class customer care. We have taken those

lessons in hand and to heart, and we present here for your consideration

the Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service: 20th

Anniversary Edition. You’ll notice something new in the back

matter of this edition: We have included a cross reference feature

that ties back to our book, 101 Activities for Knock Your

Socks Off Service. The recommended activities are tied to

specific chapters of this book as an additional resource.

Whether you are new to customer service or an old pro, we

think there is something here for you. What you do is more important

to your organization than ever before. If this book helps

you to do it even a little bit better, your thanks should go not

to us, but to the thousands of pros who served as our teachers

and mentors. And if you find the journey through these pages

not only helpful but enjoyable, then we’ll have met our customer

service goal.

Performance Research Associates

Minneapolis, MN

February 2011

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