Book Review – The Customer is Bothering Me!

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No matter what business you’re in, it’s a sure bet: You have customers. It’s also a sure bet that they will bother you, or someone on your staff, with their problems and complaints. This book teaches how to transform unhappy customers into loyal ones, and customer complaints into customer satisfaction. This means repeat sales, more referrals, and higher profit—oh yes, and fewer frustrations for customer service staff!

The Customer is Bothering Me, by Shelle Rose Charvet is all about navigating the communication challenges of customer service. The book’s principal tool is the LAB Profile, an easy-to-use questionnaire developed and tested by Roger Bailey in the 1990’s. With this tool, customer service reps can:

o Identify what motivates people just by asking a few questions and listening to key elements of the conversation.
o Communicate with words and phrases that influence another’s thinking and decision-making style.
o Inspire others to think differently and or take action.
o Create positive buyer relationships.

The Customer is Bothering Me is a follow-on to Rose Charvet’s Words that Change Minds. With the latter, readers can learn to interpret the LAB Profile, and apply the conversational guidelines in a number of business situations, such as team-building. With the former, you can apply the same principles to assuaging the ire of upset customers.

Rose Charvet first contrasts typical customer service philosophies, and how these philosophies influence the buyer’s experience. She then examines anger, from the customer’s point of view, and discusses “The Great Customer Attitude Shift” of the last decade. Additionally, readers get a good look at the problems faced by understaffed and overworked customer service employees. This book also discusses how companies reward bad customer service.

This book tells corporate managers how to revamp their customer service philosophies at every operational level. The author provides specific tactics for every step of the customer service transaction, from greeting customers, determining their needs, offering knowledge and solutions, to nurturing the relationship.

With short case studies, sample dialog, scripts, tables, and templates, the author explains how to respond to customer emotions, stay in rapport, ask the right questions, understand expectations, clarify what the customer wants, make amends, and create a positive image in the customer’s mind. The text also recommends the voice tone for the customer service rep to use at each point in the process. Additional topics include recruitment considerations, branding, staff morale, how to handle adverse publicity, and customer feedback mechanisms.

This book has clear instruction, a structured approach to a common and difficult problem, and a proven, cost-effective solution. The Customer is Bothering Me may well prove an indispensable manual for customer service training.

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