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The Customer Service Survival Kit

Book Description

The worst customer situations demand more of front-line employees than good intentions and the right attitude. These kinds of issues can send seasoned service professionals into red alert, and require the communication skills of a crisis counselor. The Customer Service Survival Kit explains how to use the right words to turn volatile scenarios into calm and productive customer encounters. Anyone can learn this delicate art with the book’s blend of clear techniques, lessons from behavioral science, case studies, situation-specific advice, and practice exercises. Readers will discover: • The power of leaning into criticism • Trigger phrases that can make bad situations worse • The secret to helping people feel deeply heard in a crisis • How to use the divide-and-conquer approach to safely deliver bad news • Indispensable problem-solving tools • How to become immune to intimidation • How to wrap up transactions so that customers are happy • And more! Best yet, learning to handle worst-case scenarios has the spillover effect of boosting the skills and confidence needed to deal effectively with ANY customer—the key to radical improvements in every organization.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half title
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Foreword
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. Introduction
  10. Part I Why Worst-Case Scenarios Matter
    1. Chapter 1 Understanding the “Uh-Oh” Moment
      1. Why Worst-Case Scenarios Are Important
      2. Good Intentions Are Not Enough
  11. Part II Tools for Defusing a Customer Crisis
    1. Chapter 2 Leaning Into Criticism
      1. Step 1: Hand Their Complaints Back to Them
      2. Step 2: Use “Wow” Words
      3. Step 3: Steal All Their Good Lines
      4. Step 4: Never Defend Yourself First
      5. Why Leaning In Is So Hard
      6. Putting Learning into Practice
    2. Chapter 3 Achieving Deep Acknowledgment
      1. Why We Don’t Acknowledge Demanding Customers
      2. The Four Powerful Levels of Response
      3. Acknowledgment: Your Key to Handling Any Situation
      4. Putting Learning into Practice
    3. Chapter 4 Avoiding Trigger Phrases
      1. The Other Golden Rule
      2. Trigger Phrases and How You Can Avoid Them
      3. Less Is Often More
      4. Putting Learning into Practice
    4. Chapter 5 Divide and Conquer: The Safe Way to Deliver Bad News
      1. Step 1: A Good Introduction That Prepares the Customer
      2. Step 2: A Proactive Summary That Moves the Customer Toward a Solution
      3. Step 3: An Empathetic Response to the Customer’s Reactions
      4. Putting Learning into Practice
    5. Chapter 6 Powerful Problem Solving: Beyond “Yes We Can” and “No We Can’t”
      1. Step 1: Clarify the Other Person’s Needs
      2. Step 2: Frame Your Response
      3. Step 3: Create Incentives
      4. Step 4: Respond to Objections
      5. A New Way to Solve Problems
      6. Putting Learning into Practice
    6. Chapter 7 Reframing Your Message
      1. How Reframing Works
      2. When Reframing Is a Bad Idea
      3. A New Perspective
      4. Putting Learning into Practice
    7. Chapter 8 Grounding an Angry Outburst
      1. Understanding Customer Anger
      2. Step 1: Use the Highest Acknowledgment Level Possible
      3. Step 2: Ask Assessment Questions
      4. Step 3: Shift the Discussion
      5. Working in the Red Zone
      6. Putting Learning into Practice
    8. Chapter 9 Becoming Immune to Intimidation
      1. Angry Customers vs. Toxic Entitlement
      2. The Basics of Nonreactivity
      3. Putting Nonreactivity to Work
      4. Can Entitled Customers Change?
      5. Putting Learning into Practice
    9. Chapter 10 The Wrap-Up
      1. Understanding Good Closings
      2. The Right Ending: A Good Beginning
      3. Putting Learning into Practice
  12. Part III Your Worst Customer Situations—Solved!
    1. Chapter 11 You’re the Boss
      1. Lean Into the Customer’s Biggest Concerns
      2. Ask Good Questions
      3. Respond to Threats with “Can-Do” Language
      4. The Law of Reciprocity
    2. Chapter 12 Don’t You Know Who I Am?
      1. Mirror the Customer’s Emotions
      2. Explore the Options
      3. Use the LPFSA
      4. Show a Personal Interest
    3. Chapter 13 The Concert That Never Was
      1. Talk with the Customer First
      2. Practice Creative Service Recovery
      3. Respond to the Public
    4. Chapter 14 I’ll Be Suing You
      1. Do Not—Repeat, Do Not—Defend Yourself First
      2. Explore Solutions
      3. Frame the Benefits
    5. Chapter 15 Quelling a Social Media Firestorm
      1. Be Real
      2. Be Quick
      3. Reach Out to the Person Behind the Keyboard
      4. Trust the Will of the Crowd
    6. Chapter 16 Just Plane Terrible
      1. Be Present
      2. Deliver the Bad News in Stages
      3. Reframe the Situation
      4. Don’t Take It Personally
    7. Chapter 17 Anger Management
      1. Frame the Situation
      2. Acknowledge Bruno
      3. Frame Your Response
      4. Execute the Endgame
      5. Relationship Building
    8. Chapter 18 Not So Smart
      1. Meet the Customer Where He Is
      2. Explore the Deeper Question
      3. Make the Customer Feel Good
  13. Part IV Beyond the Worst Case
    1. Chapter 19 When Talking Isn’t Enough: Keeping Yourself and Your Customer Safe
      1. Situational Awareness: Trusting Your Gut
      2. Reacting to Risk
      3. Don’t Go It Alone: Have a Safety Plan
    2. Chapter 20 From Customer Crisis to Excellent Service: Lessons for the Whole Organization
      1. Creating a Service Culture
      2. Managing Internal Conflict
      3. Personal Growth
      4. Communicating as an Organization
      5. The Bottom Line
  14. Appendix Solutions to Putting Learning into Practice Exercises
  15. References
  16. Index
  17. About the Author