Jan 5, 2012

Review: Wired and Dangerous

I don't know if I would go as far as to call it a new year's resolution, but instead of just blogging about moi all the time, I would like to spend more time this year reviewing books, movies, events, restaurants, destinations, etc. I'm thinking we can sum them up as the lifestyle section of the blog. (In fact, I think I'll create a new "lifestyle" label. Yes, yes I will.)

Last month I read Wired and Dangerous, by John Patterson and Convio Summit 2011 keynote speaker, Chip Bell (hence the interest). It was definitely a work read so to be honest it took me a little while to get through. It was a good book, and I'll hit some of the highlights, but you know how it is, after working all day, who relaxes with a work read?

Like I said though, good book. The big idea is that consumers today are more demanding and more vocal than ever. We're more demanding because a few stand-out experiences, like working with Amazon and their amazing customer service, have really started to raise the bar. We're also demanding because we're less tolerant of human error - just think of how often you go to the self-check out lane or ATM instead of conversing with a real person. It's just like they say, if you want to get something right, do it yourself...so we do.

We're more vocal somewhat on accident. Many moons ago if we had a bad experience, say at the airport, we would moan about it to our friend who picked us up after the flight. Now we tweet about it from the runway, consequently reaching way way more people. We've also started to learn that if we moan in a public enough way, someone might fix it for us right then and there. Quite reminiscent of Pavlov's doggy experiment.

All that means that as customer service people, we have to work a lot harder to make our customers happy. You have to remember what their most recent site search, recommend books based on their last purchase, alert them of deals based on their habits. Admittedly, it is a little daunting.

Throughout the book John and Chip share personal stories of customer service gone wrong (very funny in many cases) and customer service gone oh-so-right (make you say WOW). And even if you don't think your job is about customer service, their stories help you see how all of our jobs are about customer service in one way or another. It's a good read for thinking about how you approach your job, your clients, the retention of clients and all the people who are serving you and their performance and the fact that maybe you should cut them some slack for simply being human. After all, it happens.

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