The Customer Service Zone Library

When I was writing our best selling books on customer service, part of the porcess involved researching various topics related to improving the service companies provide to their clients and customers. In the process we compiled a large library of articles, hints, tips, research reports, and other information sources.

Rather than let these go to waste, we're happy to share them with you. All of the library contents are hand-picked and human reviewed, and, for the most part, available free of charge, and free of registration requirments.

While you are here, don't miss our book excerpts and articles by Robert Bacal). You can find out more about Robert Bacal, and his work in customer service. Notably you can take a look at three innovative books, Perfect Phrases For Customer Service, and Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook. and If It Wasn't For The Customers, I'd Really Like This Job.


Customer Service Resource Categories:

2013-Expert Predictions And Customer Service Trends (19)
Here's what the experts are predicting for customer service in the year 2013. Wonder how well they'll do.
2014-Expert Predictions And Customer Service Trends (6)
As we approach 2014, "experts" in customer service are offering their predictions about what's going to be hot, what's trending, and what will happen to affect customer service in 2014. In this section, we'll take a look at these predictions.
Anger Management (24)
Staying calm and in control with difficult clients is essential. In this section you'll find help with anger management techniques you can use to help you keep your cool with difficult and even insulting customers.
(Suggested Books)
Angry Customers - Dealing With (38) new
Angry customers can't be eliminated but you can use techniques and develop skills to shorten how long it take to deal with angry customers, reduce the intensity of the anger, and reduce your own stress levels.
(Unhappy Customers On Social Media)
Apps For Customer Service (2)
Stay up to date on what companies are doing with apps for customer service, what's available, authoring tools, and the apps you might like to have on your mobile equipment.
Bacal Never Ending Customer Service Interviews (8)
In this interview format customer service author and consultant Robert Bacal does some myth busting about customer service.
Best Practices In Customer Service (72)
Find best practices in customer service, examples of company successes and how they did it, and related customer service case studies.
Branding (10)
The meaning of branding has changed a lot over the last few decades. In this section we'll look at branding in relation to sales, marketing and customer service, since it's changed so much that it overlaps these topics.
Bullying and Verbal Abuse (22)
Bullying and verbal abuse at work are disturbing for everyone. These actions affect the target and the organization in negative ways. Learn more about bullying, the effects of verbal abuse, management responsibilities and options, and get help with dealing with bullies and verbal abuse in your life.
Business To Business-B2B (38)
Many businesses do not deal directly with consumers, but with other businesses. In this section you'll find articles and help with providing excellent customer service to other businesses - B2B
(Social Media)
Business of Customer Service (19)
It's easy to forget that companies provide customer service for business reasons, and are also constrained by business realities. Here we'll look at these issues.
CRM Customer Relationship Management (33)
CRM or customer relationship management means: CRM is an industry term for software solutions that help enterprise businesses manage customer relationships in an organized way. Learn how technology can help improve customer service and customer contact.
Communicating With Customers (18)
Communication with customers and marketing often overlap since the same strategies for communicating effectively with customers also result in good marketing. Here you'll find material to help you use information about your customers to communicate effectively.
Communication (43)
Communication skills constitute the major tool for providing excellent customer service. Hone your customer communication skills from the resources in this section, which includes both basic and advanced customer communication skills.
(Non-Verbal Communication) (Interpersonal Communication) (Listening) (Delivering Bad News)
Complaint Handling (30)
Things don't always go smoothly and customers complain, sometimes for good reason, and sometimes for no reason. Learn how to handle complaints professionally and smoothly to increase customer loyalty and retention.
Conflict (19)
Conflicts occur as a result of human interaction, where people CARE about what they do. Improve your ability to manage and harness conflict to improve relationships, improve business productivity, and success. Topics include mediation and ADR.
Contrarian Customer Service - Radical Service (18) new
Don't think out of the box, BURN the customer service box. You can' win at customer service if you do what everyone else does, and listen to the same experts. Here's a different way.
Cost of Customer Service (5)
Few people talk about the cost of providing top notch customer service, while many talk about the cost of poor customer service. In this section, we'll deal with both.
Creating A Customer Service Culture (57) new
How can companies create a customer service culture internally that reflects customer service values and principles? Find out about customer service culture initiatives here.
Creating Customer Evangelists (11)
Creating raving fans, and customers who will evangelize your company, and you've accomplished a huge amount. It's not easy. It won't always work. But if you can accomplish it, you're on to something really good.
Customer Advisory Boards (8)
Customer advisory boards are semi-permanent panels organizations can use to have ongoing input and feedback about products, services, etc. Learn more from the material in this section.
Customer Centricity (13)
Another new term on the customer service map, but the question is: What does it mean? Is this just more fancy buzz words to get customer service consultants employed? A way to combat a recession? You decide if customer centric means something useful to you and your company.
Customer Communities (44) new
Customer communities is a topic of significant interest and value. Community based online help forums can provide high value when they work, both to company and customers, but can seriously damage the company if left unmanaged.
Customer Engagement (29) new
Customer engagement (CE) refers to the engagement of customers with one another, with a company or a brand. The initiative for engagement can be either consumer- or company-led and the medium of engagement can be on or offline.(Wikiepedia)
Customer Expectations - Managing Them (9)
With customers now often having unrealistic expectations regarding customer service, it's absolutely critical that companies carefully manage the expectations of customers. That's the topic in this section.
Customer Experience (45) new
A newer phrase regarding customer service that encompasses the entire...experience for the customer when he or she deals with your company. Makes sense to look at things broadly in a competitive world where success if often based on perception.
Customer Experience Management (13) new
It's a newer term. What does it mean? Is it something different and important? Find out more about the customer experience and how to manage it.
Customer Satisfaction Issues and Strategies (11)
Customer satisfaction is the key to customer loyalty and retention. Here you will find tips, hints, techniques, etc to increase customer satisfaction and evaluate your customers' levels of satisfaction.
Customer Service (65) new
Excellent customer service is the key to gaining new customers and customer retention. Learn to create a customer service oriented organization, even when dealing with difficult, angry or frustrating clientele.
(Suggested Books)
Customer Service - Airline Industry (18) new
Customer service in the airline industry is critical for the survival of air carriers around the world. Whether you're interested in airline sales personnel, airline and flight attendents, or pilots, you'll find information about airline customer service, and how to improve it here.
Customer Service - Call Centers (40)
Call centers are often under-staffed and employees are over-worked. Learn about how to improve customer service within the call center environments.
Customer Service - Ecommerce (14) new
Ironically poor customer service is pushing people to buy online. Here we'll discuss the elements of providing excellent customer service in the ecommerce space.
Customer Service - Education Sector (16)
We don't usually consider teachers, school principals, and school trustees to be in the business of customer service but we should. Parents and children deserve to be treated as customers. Learn how to deal with parents and tax payers within a school or educational setting.
Customer Service - Financial Sector (23)
Investor confidence in banking and other financial institutions comes from offering top quality customer service. Learn about customer service within the financial sector here.
Customer Service - Government and Public Sector (36)
Government and public sector organizations need to view customer service differently than for-profit organizations. Learn the importance of effective customer service in the public sector from these resources.
Customer Service - Health Sector (21)
Doctors, nurses, and those that work in health care settings (including HMO's) deal with people who are often stressed and need special care. Learn how customer service applies to those that work in the health sector, and with people with health problems.
Customer Service - Hospitality Industry (32)
There's no industry that DEMANDS customer service more than the hospitality industry -- hotels, restaurants and related sectors. Learn how to provide effective customer service in the hospitality industry.
Customer Service - Information Technology (12) new
Most companies have information technology (IT) departments that are critical to the success of the business. They provide services primarily to internal customers. Find information here about how IT and IT employees can improve the service they provide to customers. Of interest to those involved in computer hardware, programming and systems analysis.
Customer Service - Insurance Industry (13)
While insurance is a price competetive arena, trust and customer service play huge roles in attracting and retaining customers. Learn more about best practices, customer service approaches in car, house, business insurance.
Customer Service - Internal Customers (9)
Many people deal with customers WITHIN their own companies. Internal customers are those people and employees who might use your services and products, who reside in the same company. For example the computer department, and human resources department serve internal needs. Learn how important internal customer service is to success.
Customer Service - Legal Sector (23)
Lawyers, those in legal offices and those in the court system often deal with difficult, challenging situations with clientele. Learn more about providing effective customer service in legal and court situation.
Customer Service - Manufacturing Sector (12)
Manufacturers tend not to deal with the end consumer of their products, but customer service is probably even more important, since poor customer service even to a single distributor or retailer can mean losses of millions of dollars. Learn more here.
Customer Service - Not For Profits (9)
We usually think of customer service from companies aimed at making profits, but customer service is also an important part of the operations of Not For Profit/Non Profit organizations. That's what we'll cover in this section.
Customer Service - Real Estate (24)
Huge amounts of money are on the line when people buy real estate and houses. Buyers and sellers need to trust real estate agents, and customer service is the key to generating trust and sales in real estate. Learn about customer service and real estate agents.
Customer Service - Retail Sector (46) new
Customer expectations in the retail sector require top notch customer service for companies to remain competitive. Learn how effective customer service contributes to the bottom line, and how to provide it.
Customer Service - Small Business (25) new
Small businesses live and breathe through providing top quality customer service, but may not have the huge resources of corporation. Learn how to leverage customer service to improve small business.
Customer Service - Utilities (14)
Utilities, gas, electricity companies are not known for their customer service, perhaps in part because they operate as virtual monopolies. In this section we'll look at customer service in the utilities industry.
Customer Service Checklists and Tools (7)
A repository of links to customer service checklists, assessments, and other improvement tools.
Customer Service Excellence Case Studies (16)
Here you can learn from companies who have established a reputation for top quality customer service. How did they earn customer service excellence respect and recognition? Learn from the best with these case studies.
Customer Service On The Phone (9)
Phones are still a primary means of customer contact, customer support and customer service, but dealing on the phone is different than face to face or email. In this section you'll find hints and tips about how to make customer service over the phone more effective, including suggestions for how to deal with customer complaints over the phone.
Data Mining (17) new
Data mining is the process of collecting information from your prospective customers, making sense of it to make decisions about how to make your organization more successful.
Difficult People (19)
Difficult people make difficult customers. Learn about what makes difficult people tick, and methods to deal with them.
(Suggested Books)
E - Customer Service - Customer Service Via The Internet (22)
More and more customer contact occurs through the Internet, via websites and email. Learn more about how companies are delivering top quality service through the Internet.
For Customers (25)
Most of the material on this site is for those that work in customer service, customer service representatives, and companies, but in this section, you'll find advice for customers on how to get better service, how to complain constructively, and more.
Free Customer Service Whitepapers - Reports (2)
Periodically we come across free whitepapers and reports dealing with some aspect of customer service, benchmarks, best practices, and so on. That's what you'll find here but BE AWARE that these offers expire, and may not always be available.
Generational Issues and Customer Service (11)
I'm not a fan of generational categorizations as there is research to suggest that generations do not work as most people believe, but there are certainly some differences as a result of AGE, rather than generation, in terms of customer service.
Hiring Customer Service Representatives (10)
You can, and usually have to train your customer service representatives, but things are a lot easier and more profitable if you HIRE good people suited for the customer service roles. That's what this section is about.
Humor (8)
Sometimes you need to laugh just to get through the customer service day. Here's some great stuff that pokes fun at companies and customers.
Impaired Customers (6)
In this section we'll discuss the difficult challenges of dealing with customers who are intoxicated (drunk, or high, on drugs)...and how to stay safe while dealing with potentially violent situations. Common in the hospitality industry (restaurants, bars, etc)
In The Cloud Customer Service (4) new
It's new. Offloading customer service and methods to serve customers into "the cloud". Good idea? Not? And what technologies are being used? Those questions answered in this section.
Infographics - Customer Service Related (16)
Very often infographics are incredibly misleading when it comes to how customer behave and consumer behavior, because the numbers presentated are almost always presented out of context. With that caveat, we're including customer service related infographics in this section. Decision-makers, beware.
Leading The Way To Better Customer Services (2)
CEO's and other organizational leaders play critical roles in creating an organizational culture that fosters improving customer service. In this section, you'll find advice, suggestions and tips for how to harness leadership in the quest for quality service.
Lessons From Poor Customer Service Examples (15)
We can learn a lot about improving customer service by looking at what NOT to do, and examples of customer service that has gone awry. Here you'll find examples and analyses of poor customer service situations.
Live Chat (6)
Live chat, or the ability to communicate via computer in real time has become a more prevalent way to help customers, and in particular, to help customers through the buying process online. Here's what's happening.
Loyalty and Customer Retention (39) new
Return repeat business is critical for any business, and to do that you have to creat e customer loyality. In this section we'll look at this topic.
Metrics - Measuring Customer Service (11) new
It's a big issue. How do you measure the quality of the customer service given to customers? Wrong metrics can be misleading, but it's hard to measure customer service quality in a meaningful way.
Mobile Customers (18) new
With the penetration of smart phones and devices, customers are indeed mobile, and look to use their smart devices to make shopping easier, even in bricks and mortar places. But all the research suggests customers are exceedingly dissatisfied with the integrations. Where does this need to go in the future?
(Instore Customer Tracking)
Mystery Shoppers (6)
A number of businesses hire "mystery shoppers" to evaluate the quality and levels of customer service in their stores and outlets. Learn more about mystery shoppers, their use and how they can best be used.
Negotiating And Negotiation (23)
Negotiation skills are important for workplace success, for dealing with conflict, for making business deals, and creating win-win situations. Learn new negotiating skills and models you can use at work and at home.
Outsourcing Contact Centers and Customer Service (12)
More and more companies are outsourcing their customer service process and their call and contact centers. Learn about the pros and cons, dangers and successes.
Privacy Issues and Customer Service (14)
Protecting customer information (privacy issues) has become much more important as a part of customer service, due to the huge amounts of data now stored on computers. Learn more about the importance of guarding customer data, and informing customers of privacy protection.
Recovering When Things Go Wrong (16) new
Perhaps the most important aspect of customer service is how the customer is handled when things go wrong. How you recover with a customer is critical to building customer loyalty and customer retention. Learn how here.
Research Articles For Customer Service (27)
Here, you'll find research findings and results about customer service techniques, return on investment and related topics.
Research Methods For Customer Service (13)
Understanding your customers is a critical element of providing customer service. That means communication and data gathering. Find information and methods about how to gather and make sense of customer information - satisfaction levels, use of focus groups, surveys.
Robert Bacal Customer Service File (67)
Customer service research and materials I'm collecting for use in my new book on customer experience, service, etc. Just sharing it with others. Lots of numbers, statistics, research findings, infographics, many of them flawed, so beware.
Self-Service Customer Service Issues (12) new
More companies are moving towards supplying self-service to customers to replace face-to-face-contact. Here, you will find more information about the challenges, successes, problems and failures with self-service systems.
Service Around The World (2) new
Other countries besides the USA, Canada, and other Western ones are also grappling with customer service issues, so we've devoted this area for resources on customer service issues in other countries.
Social CRM (16)
With the emergence of social networking and the use of social media platforms for customer service, there is now a discussion of customer relationship management via social network channels.
Social Networks and Customer Service (129) new
There's a move to use social networks as contact methods to improve customer service. That's what is in this section - details, hints, case studies.
Stupid Useless Customer Service Advice (3)
There's so much bad advice floating around related to customer service, that we thought we set up a section to learn from the bad stuff. You'll find commentary on why some customer service practices and advice is simply wrong, stupid, or absolutely useless and divorced from the real world.
Supply Chain Management-SCM (5)
Supply chain management is the term to describe " the management of a network of interconnected businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and service packages required by end customers (Harland, 1996).[1] Supply Chain Management spans all movement and storage of raw materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption." Wikipedia. It is most often applied to manufacturing and mining industries or other areas that are resource intensive. It includes the processes by which heavy industry provides customers with proper service.
Surveying Customers (4) new
You need feedback from customers and one way is to use various formal and informal surveys, but it's a complex field, to design surveys, collect data, and THEN to make decisions, and take actions based on on your interpretations. Here's help.
Training Customer Service Staff (27)
People aren't born having customer service skills and abilities. They have to learn them, and that means companies need to train staff so they act in ways consistent with the company's customer service strategies. Here we'll help with all aspects of training in customer service.
(Games - Activities - Exercises - Free)
Trust Consistency - And Customer Service (8)
The degree to which customers trust companies is critical in determining whether they buy in the first place, and whether they are retained. In this section, we'll look at customer trust, and it's supporting cast, including consistency, reliability and predictability.
Unclassified (22) new
Not yet classified
Videos - Customer Service (0)
There's a lot of videos floating around to help develop customer service skills, or that discuss business issues with respect to customer service. We've selected some that may be of interest if you work in customer service.
Videos On Customer Service (5)
In this section you'll find various videos on customer service and angry customers that we feel are instructive and worth watching.
(Free Training Videos)
Voice Of The Customer (15)
The phrase "voice of the customer" sounds pretty simple, but actually it doesn't mea what most people think it means. Because it sounds simple people don't bother to learn about it. Robert Geirst gives us a clear definition: "Voice of the Customer (VoC) was developed by Yoji Akao in conjunction with Quality Function Deployment (QFD) a product and service design methodology. The intent was to embed concrete and clearly specified customer requirements directly into the design specifications of new products VoC was to identify customer requirements; QFD was to connect them with design specifications. The strategy changed the face of customer research"
Voted Worst And Best For Customer Service (13)
Who are the winners and losers in surveys on best and worst customer service? Here are links to various results.
What Do Customers Want (21)
It's kind of an important question, but it isn't one that has received a lot of discussion or actual action, oddly enough. We will explore research and discussion of what customers really want and expect.
Workplace Violence (21)
There's always a possibility that customer interactions can "go bad" and escalate to workplace violence. While it doesn't happen often you should know what to do to handle and prevent escalation to violence. You'll find general information on this topic here.
(Prevention) (Violence Policies And Procedures And Forms)

There are 1880 articles for you to choose from!


Pages Updated On: 9-Apr-2014 - 10:37:14

Special Help: Prevent and Master Angry and Difficult Customers

Don't let difficult, angry customers control you. Learn to take control, stay cool, and remain professional in the toughest situations

Reviewer Praise From Amazon Readers

Bacal nails it! While more are messing with the entanglements of Customer Satisfaction which leads to no where...he addresses the specifics head on and focuses on the greater picture and ultimate goal of the Customer Experience which leads to Loyalty. Excellent job! (Macy in Oklahoma, 2013)

One of the best things I learned from this book is how to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Using the tools from this gem of a book I have calmed people down, turned bad situations into good, and kept customers who would have otherwise left us and written ten nasty reviews in their wake. It is so empowering to be able to do that, rather than feel awful and abused. This is a must buy, must read for people who work with customers day in and day out. Do it for your own sanity, and to help improve your own job performance and satisfaction! (E. Meehan, California, 2012)

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