Brand Book Bites from The Service Culture Handbook

– the book:  The Service Culture Handbook:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service, a practical guide on an important topic

– the brains:  Jeff Toister, customer service author, consultant, and trainer.  I met Jeff when we were both launching our first books — his was Service Failure: The Real Reasons Employees Struggle with Customer Service and What You Can Do About It — and I’ve enjoyed our friendship ever since.

– the best bits:  The Service Culture Handbook really is a handbook — it walks you through the steps to developing a customer-focused culture in your organization and refers you to a downloadable toolkit comprised of worksheets and guides for doing so.

After starting out by explaining how “culture is the key to outstanding customer service,” Jeff shows how to define your culture and then align your company’s service with your customer service vision through goals, hiring, training, empowering, and leadership.  Some of the best sound bites include:

“…Culture isn’t attributable to just one thing. There’s no single initiative that will magically get your employees to consistently make customer service a priority. Culture is the sum of all the things we do in an organization.”

“Every customer interaction is an opportunity for a hero moment or a service failure.”

“Trying to copy another company’s culture is an exercise in futility.  Every organization is unique.”

“Building the right culture is simply too much work for most companies.  The few that break through work at it every day.  They resist the urge to take shortcuts, and they stick with the initiative for the long-term.  These elite few companies understand that culture isn’t easy, and they embrace that challenge.”

– the brand story:   A highlight of the book is the story of Rackspace, the computer hosting company.  Jeff recounts the unexpected solution when an internal network outage shut down service to its 300,000+ customers.

Initiated first by a lone technical support agent who tweeted out his personal phone number, employees started reaching out to upset customers on Twitter and many used their personal cell phones to get customers on the phone and help them solve their problems.   This unconventional approach was born out of the company’s ingrained culture — an extraordinary brand of customer service it calls “Fanatical Support.”

Its “Fanatical Support Promise” reads:

We cannot promise that hardware won’t break, that software won’t fail, or that we will always be perfect.  What we can promise is that if something goes wrong, we will rise to the occasion, take action, and help resolve the issue.

Rackspace employees took the creativity and initiative to deliver on this promise at a critical moment when most other companies would simply have put up a service advisory on their website.  The story demonstrates the power of a customer service vision that is articulated with conviction and executed with commitment.

– the bottom line:  The Service Culture Handbook is a terrific resource for organizations that want to lead the field in customer service.

P.S.  At the risk of seeming too promotional, I want to mention that Jeff has an “Early Purchase Program” in which you receive lots of cool benefits if you buy the book by Friday, April 7, 2017, so if you’re interested in The Service Culture Handbook , I recommend getting it now.


Uncontainable by Kip Tindell
Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer
Customer Service Ain’t What It Used to Be

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