High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service

Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce

 High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service

Author: Micah Solomon
Pub Date: May 2012
Print Edition: $18.95
Print ISBN: 9780814439319
Page Count: 208
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417911

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Table of Contents


Introduction 1

Forearmed Is Forewarmed 2

A Light Touch at Just the Right Time 3

Saying Your Business Is ‘‘On the internet’’ Is Like Saying It’s

‘‘On the Power Grid’’ 4

All You Need to Know in a Rhyming Nutshell 5

Homeward Bound 6

Where Tech Makes Loyalty Easier 7

How This Book Is Organized 8


Timeliness and Timelessness 9


Today’s Changed Customer: Making Lovemaking

Difficult 11

The Most Crucial Customer ‘‘Trends’’ Today Are Individual

Changes 12

Customer Trend 1: Customers Expect Anticipatory

Technological Behavior and Aggregated

Information—Instantly 12

Customer Trend 2: Shame Shift and Values-Based

Buying 14

Customer Trend 3: Timelessness over Trendiness 15

Customer Trend 4: Customer Empowerment 16

Customer Trend 5: The Greening of the Customer 17

Customer Trend 6: The Desire for Self-Service 18

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 19


The Customer Remains the Same: Everything That

Isn’t New Under the Sun 21

Providing Value: As Easy as 1, 2 . . . 4 22

A Perfect Product or Service 22

Delivered in a Caring, Friendly Manner 23

In a Timely Fashion 25

. . . Backed Up by an Effective Problem-Resolution

Process 26

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 30


Timeless Customer Service Done Right—and

Wrong: Mastery Versus Catastrophe 32

The Masterful Company 32

A Cameo of Catastrophe: Timeless Service Done Tragically

Wrong 40

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 45


High-Tech, High-Touch Anticipatory

Customer Service 47


A Google of Apples a Day: The Art of Anticipation

in the Modern World of Customer Service 49

The Apple Store Experience 50

From Cradle to Credit Card 53

A Tale of Two Installs 53

Bringing It All Back Home 57

‘‘Attaching’’ Yourself to Customers: Gmail and More 58

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 61


Anticipatory Customer Service: Your Culture 63

The Curse of the Short-Term Focus 64

Consciously Building a Company Culture: Why Bother? 66

You Can’t Out-Pixar Pixar—But Here’s What You Can

Do 69

Cultural Friends with Benefits 70

Cultural Fit, Oddballs, and When Not to Hire 71

Positive Peer Pressure: The Double Significance of Every

Hiring Decision 72

Vendors: Partners, Not Poison 74

Spelling Out How You Treat Customers, Vendors, and

Employees 75

How to Get Started Building Your Core 76

The Best Time to Start? Now. 77

Buy-in or Highwayin’ 79

Your Core Values Are Just the Start—But They Are a

Start 79

Culture Meets the Larger World 81

How This Plays Out in a Pinch: Southwest’s Culture Saves a

Service Dog 82

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 83


Anticipatory Customer Service: Your People 86

A Wet Dog at Petco 88

Supernatural Selection 89

Trial by Hire 90

‘‘Fit’’ and Its Pitfalls 91

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 93


Sangria, Sippy Cups, and Jesse Ventura: Autonomy

Versus Standards 95

Patting Down Jesse Ventura 96

The Case for Autonomy in Customer Service Work 98

The Need for Standards 101

Standards and Autonomy: The Hybrid Path 102

Pour Lion and PEPI 105

Conveying Standards—And Maintaining Autonomy 106

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 107


The Rise of Self-Service and Social

Media—And Other Seismic Shifts 109


The Rise of Self-Service: A Boon to Your

Customers—But Only If You Do It Right 111

Awarding Myself the Mobile Prize 111

Principles of Successful Self-Service 115

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 119


Technological Change and Disabled Customers: A

True Opportunity, If You Avoid the Missteps 121

There’s More to Ramping Up than Putting Ramps Up: A

Variety of Issues and Solutions 121

Wynn Some 125

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 126


Shoulder Your Customer’s Burden (and Make Sure

You’re Not Adding to It!) 127

Stupid Stuff 127

Stupid Is as . . . I Forget 128

Get to Them First 132

Where Are the Opportunities to Get to Them First? 133

Permission to Anticipate 136

The Specific Medium Is the Message—And Its Only Chance

of Getting Through 139

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 140

Chapter 11

Anti-Social Media: Fears and Hazards of the New

Landscape 142

Bicycle Pumps and Veterinarians 142

Regime Change in 140 Characters 143

Ouch: The First Time They Talk About You 143

Nobody Uses Twitter to Tell a Friend His Fly’s Undone 144

Social Media Is Not a Disease 146

A Story That Almost Became a Viral Tweet 146

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 148


Social Service: Principles for Social Media Customer

Service 149

Principle 1: Avoid the Fiasco Formula: A Digital Stitch in

Time Saves Nine (Million) 150

Principle 2: Lie Back and Think of England: Digital

Arguments with Customers Are an Exponentially Losing

Proposition 150

Principle 3: Turn Twankers into Thankers: Reach Out

Directly to Online Complainers 151

Principle 4: Consider Getting a Complainer on the

Telephone (with Permission)—Even if the Relationship

Started in Social Media Land 154

Principle 5: Get Happy Outcomes into the Public

Eye 155

Principle 6: Use Social Media and Personal Email to Make

Your Customers Feel Important 155

Principle 7: Monitor 156

Principle 8: If Your Social Media Responses Are Inferior

to—Or Not Integrated with—Your Other Channels,

They’re Hurting Your Brand 157

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 158


Listening: Your Ears Are Your Most Important

Technology 160

Only One Perspective That Matters 160

Sanctuary Much: The S.M.A.R.T. Approach to the Human

Force Field 162

Using Electronic Systems to Enhance Your Listening 165

It’s All About Listening—And It Starts by Opening Yourself

to Hearing 169

The Maytag Repairman Lets You Slap Him in the

Facebook 169

Break It to Ourselves More Gently 172

Surveying the Landscape 173

‘‘And Your Point Is?’’ 175

Notes 179

Index 191

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