5 Ways To Be Your Customer’s Hero

customerherobookI recently had the opportunity to read the brand new customer service and experience book, Be Your Customer’s Hero, by Adam Toporek.  Having reviewed many customer service books on this blog, one begins to wonder if there is anything new to learn about customer service.

As I dove into the book it became apparent that this is a book chock-full of everything one needs to know in order to deliver AWESOME, or as Adam calls it, Hero-Class customer service.  I want to take a few moments to share some of my favorite lessons from the book.

Winning is not a customer service goal

Adam talks about the difference between a transactional view of customers where we try to extract as much value and profit from the customer and a relational view where we focus on a lasting relationship with the customer.  In the transactional view, the focus is on winning each interaction.  He goes on to say of a relational approach:

Your goal is to create a healthy, profitable long-term relationship with customers that provides value to both parties.  The only winning that works in customer service is win-win.

Put on your game face

It’s so easy to bring the difficult circumstances of life to work.  It’s almost inevitable depending on how difficult those circumstances are.  Toporek reminds us of the importance of putting on our game faces when we show up to work.  He talks about the way employees at Disneyland are called cast members.  When they are on the clock, they are a part of a huge production.  There is no room for them to be any less than professional.

Become the customer’s personal detective

I work with some fantastic detectives and this is a great reminder that it is our goal to dig, search and investigate any way possible to solve of customer’s problem.  Sometimes the solution will be creative and not quite look exactly like what the customer specifically described.  This will make some customers happy and others not so happy.  This quote from Adam is essential:

Remember, a Hero-Class rep never comes back empty-handed, even if the only thing she brings back to the customer is an explanation of how hard she tried.

The art of the pivot

The pivot is all about taking a situation where you would normally have to say no to a customer and shifting the conversation to what you can do for the customer.  It is so easy to get stuck on what we can’t do and dig our heels in, but that never ends well.  This is a brilliant technique that I had never heard of before.  It should be a staple in your customer service training.

Let upset customers punch themselves out

This was by far the most entertaining part of the book.  The concept is simple.  When a customer calls to vent about a problem, let them!  They can go off for a while but they will eventually get tired and leave space for you to speak and work toward a solution.  So many times I’ve chosen to go toe to toe with a customer, causing the issue to escalate, when I should have just let them go off for a while.  Still, the thought of customers punching themselves out cracks me up!

There are dozens more extremely valuable customer service tips packed into this book.  I’ll let you discover the rest for yourself.  I highly recommend that anyone who is intent on delivering awesome customer service, pick up a copy of Be Your Customer’s Hero!


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  • Jeremy, thank you so much for the kind words and thoughtful review! It’s great to see that Be Your Customer’s Hero can offer some takeaways to even a seasoned pro like yourself.

    And I do love using pivots in customer service! They are so amazingly effective, but they take some practice, as they do not come naturally to most of us.

    I truly appreciate you sharing your thoughts on HERO. Thanks to you and Jenny for the support!

    • Jeremy Watkin

      You’re very welcome! How cool is it that I can talk with the author of the book. That’s one of the best aspects of this social media stuff.

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