[Book Cover]

Customer Service: A Practical Approach, 2/e

Elaine K. Harris, Tulsa Community College

Published July, 1999 by Prentice Hall Career & Technology

Copyright 2000, 148 pp.
ISBN 0-13-082665-0

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For undergraduate courses in Customer Service or Service Marketing; also as a supplement for a course in Marketing Principles. Tackling important issues facing customer service providers and customer service managers today, this straightforward, easy-to-read text provides students with: (1) a thorough understanding of the customer service industry, (2) a working knowledge of current trends and the ability to interpret those trends, and (3) the fundamental abilities and strategies that lead to the successful implementation of customer service. A #1 training and reference resource for numerous companies, the text's unique approach unfolds the dynamics of the customer service industry while providing exercises to develop the fundamental skills necessary to compete in it. It places a special emphasis on self-assessment and the mastery of the skills that together provide tangible evidence of individual and corporate productivity.


NEW—Redi-reference card—Attaches a stock card at the end of the book that contains highlights, key terms, and some illustrations from each chapter; perforated for easy removal.

  • Gives students a handy, fast reference they can use on the job.
NEW—Delivering Customer Service to the Changing Marketplace (Ch.11)—Includes discussions on the changing marketplace; understanding the customer of the 21st century; embracing new technologies; call centers; customer service over the Internet; and enhancing service experiences and building customer loyalty.
  • Provides students with valuable insight that alerts them to anticipated changes and prepares them for the future of the customer service industry helping to make them flexible problem solvers.
NEW—Expanded coverage of the challenge of customer service (Ch. 2)The Challenges of Customer Service—“Reputation Management” describes the attempt to identify how a company is perceived and establishes an action plan to follow to maintain or enhance the reputation of the business.
  • Helps students better understand the barriers inherent in customer service. NEW—“Ethics in Customer Service”—Focuses on tips for building customer satisfaction and conveying credibility so that customer service providers can actively express believability and professionalism.
  • Shows students that some of the most obvious barriers to providing excellent customer service can be controlled by the customer service providers themselves.
NEW—“Steps to Empowering Customer Service Providers” guidelines (Ch. 5).
  • Shows students how empowerment can positively impact a provider's ability to serve the customer.
NEW—“Building Customer Intelligence” definition and guidelines (Ch. 6).
  • Helps students recognize the value of and key in on vital “customer intelligence” skills—such as attentive listening, appropriate word usage, and proper voice inflection—that can make their message significantly more upbeat and professional.
NEW—“Understanding Churn”— Contains formulas for determining churn rate, defection rate, and customer lifetime value (Ch. 10).
  • Helps students understand what keeps a customer loyal, and shows how to measure customers' satisfaction and keep customer retention programs on target. Proven methods for creating an environment that achieves excellence in customer service.
  • Encourages students to reach beyond the role of a basic service provider and achieve excellence through lifelong learning.
Current issues—Discusses the rapid integration of technology, the multicultural marketplace, and more.
  • Makes students aware of the key issues facing today's customer service providers and managers so they can become better customer service representatives.
Special emphasis on skill mastery—Concentrates on such skill-building areas as understanding expectations, problem-solving and decision making, time management, listening, human relations, leadership, customer retention, and technology training.
  • Shows students the critical areas of skill-building they can work on and gives them ample opportunity to practice those skills and highlight them in their résumés.
Current terminology—Covers common language used in the customer service industry with easy-to-understand examples.
  • Familiarizes students with industry lingo, giving them a faster start on the job. A progressive approach—Progresses in a logical sequence, establishing a base of skills and gradually building new concepts from topics covered in previous chapters.
  • Provides students with a carefully designed learning methodology that allows them to pace themselves to achieve complete understanding of a specific concept before moving on to another.
Solid pedagogy in each chapter—Includes Remember This chapter-opening quotations that relate to the chapter's content; Opportunities for Critical Thinking end-of-chapter questions that reinforce the concepts discussed within the chapter; Skill Building end-of-chapter exercises that develop important skills required to become an excellent customer service provider; and Challenges that provide periodic experiences in special customer service areas.
  • Gets students thoroughly involved in the learning process—sparks their interest; engages them in active thinking; helps hone the skills essential to career success; and enlightens them with many real-world scenarios from the customer service industry, increasing their employability.

Table of Contents
    1. What Is Customer Service?
    2. The Challenges of Customer Service.
    3. Problem Solving.
    4. Strategy for Formulating a Plan for Success.
    5. Empowerment.
    6. Communications in Customer Service.
    7. Coping with Challenging Customers.
    8. Motivation.
    9. Leadership in Customer Service.
    10. Customer Retention and Measurement of Satisfaction.
    11. Delivering Customer Service to the Changing Marketplace.
    12. Excellence in Customer Service.
    Sources of Other Information.


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