Sneaky Preview: Perfect Phrases For Customer Service 2.0 Preface You May Never See


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Perfect Phrases For Customer Service V1.0

Perfect Phrases For Customer Service V1.0

This might be the most boring book on customer service you will ever come across. And if you are in customer service you NEED this book, because I guarantee you it will help you! It may not entertain you. If you want entertaining rent a movie.

It will, however, make you a better customer service provider, and it will make you safer, and help reduce stress from difficult customer situations.

You’ve probably seen those commercials for the cough syrup brand that tastes so bad? It’s a fun ad campaign and its memorable. One remembers the simple fact that the cough syrup works. This book is like that. Tastes sort of bad. Works great.

In a short customer review of the first edition of this book, a reviewer indicated he thought the book was deadly dull. Authors don’t like that. I didn’t like it. Then I was asked to write the second edition of this book – the one you hold in your hand. Now I had to read the original book, and darned if I had to agree. It’s boring!

The other thing I noticed, (and this was reflected in other more detailed reader reviews) was that the content is really really good. Ok. I’m biased, but seriously, there is much in this book you won’t find elsewhere. The examples are thorough and clear. The explanations are straightforward. It’s been six years since the original book, and there wasn’t a single technique or customer service strategy that could be removed. The practical hands on guidance on what to say when is still way ahead of anything else out there on the market.

Only it’s still boring. Yes, a fair amount of the text was edited and improved, but here’s the thing. Yes, we added a new section on social media, and it’s wee bit less boring. Not quite the potboiler, though. Never will be.

This book isn’t meant to be read like a novel. It’s a reference book and a tutorial, and you can pick and choose the sections you want when you need them. As such there’s a fair amount of duplication to ensure you don’t need to read it from beginning to end to learn from it.

I’m so pleased to be writing this introduction to the second edition of this book since it means that enough people found the first edition useful enough to justify updating it. Since 2005 when the first edition of this book was published, many things have changed in the customer service arena. Many aspects of customer service remain the same. Good customer service is still good for business and the organization. Doing a good job providing customer service can still provide you with a great sense satisfaction and job enjoyment. The most compelling reason to learn about, and deliver good customer service is this: when you deliver good customer service to your customers, you experience less stress, and less hassle and grief from customers. They argue less. They’re much less likely to insult, and they’re less demanding. They don’t threaten you when they get upset (“I’ll have your job!”). You can save huge amounts of time. . Customer service skills still help you keep your happy customers happy, help prevent customers from becoming unhappy and taking out their frustrations on you,

So what about the changes? The biggest apparent change has been the emergence of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn as “places” where millions of customers and potential customers “hang out” and share things. One of the things people can share much more easily now is their positive and negative experiences with companies. When things go wrong, they yell. When things go right they whisper. The implications of this behavior coupled with the apparent huge numbers (it’s actually a bit of an illusion) of people using these platforms has companies jumping on the bandwagon. Large companies like IBM, Ford, Dell, HP are “there” and many small or micro sized businesses are also experimenting (and usually failing) at the use of social media for customer service. Whether these changes are good or bad, there is no question that those involved in customer service need to UNDERSTAND the new media, so they can use them effectively, both at a strategic and tactical level (communicating with customers).

That brings us to the most significant changes in this edition. We will help you understand what social media can be used for and how it can be used for offering good customer service. Yes, we’ll offer you phrases to use, but we’ll explain to you how to strip away the hype from the truth so you won’t waste resources. You will understand not only what can be accomplished via social media, but also what cannot be accomplished. Bottom line: Intelligent effective use of social media, without wasted resources.

Quick Overview of The Book

The focus – to give you the tools to interact with customers more effectively, so the company, the customer, and you, the person dealing with the customer, all benefit. It’s a different kind of book about customer service. It’s not full of principles or platitudes, or handy customer service slogans. It focuses on doing. What should you do with a customer who is swearing at you? What do you do to prevent customers who have waited a long time from getting really angry? What do you do to provide advice to customers so it will be heard and appreciated? This book will answer these questions, and many other ones about customer service situations—specifically and precisely. This book is about solutions.


Part One of this book has two chapters. In Chapter 1, we’ll cover some basics, so you can increase your understanding of what customers want from you, and the things that cause customers to hit the roof. We’ll talk about various types of customers (internal, external, paying and non-paying), and we’ll explain how you can best use this book.

Chapter 2 describes dozens of very specific customer service techniques. The explanations will help you decide when to use what techniques and in what customer situations. The pages in that part of the book are shaded black so you can easily refer to them for specific techniques, which are given in alphabetical order. It is VERY important that you read and understand this chapter because doing so will enable you to modify your responses to fit each situation. You CANNOT serve customers by memorizing phrases and regurgitating them. You must understand WHY and WHEN they fit, and modify them to suit!

In Part Two, you will find 60 common and not-so-common customer service situations along with specifics about dealing with each one them.

Even if we have not included all of the situations you deal with on the job, you can modify the solutions to fit the situations you do face. Regardless of whether you work in retail, the hospitality industry, government, or as a call center customer service rep, the situations and solutions will be very useful to you.

In Part 3 you’ll find brand new content to help you make use of and benefit by using social media platforms to communicate with and provide customer service to your customers. We’ll give you some explanations about social media, mention critical differences between different platforms, and present you with six more customer service situations/functions and how you carry them out on social media. We end the chapter with more uncommon insight into social media and its limitations as a customer service tool.


Far too much customer service training and far too many customer service books tell you only what you already know. Do you really need to be told again that you should smile? Or shake hands? No. But you might find it useful to know when it’s a bad idea to smile at a customer? You’ll learn that from this book.

Here’s the bottom line about this book: you may come across a few things you already know. You’ll also come across techniques you probably haven’t thought about. If you work at using these techniques properly, and focus on doing things differently with customers, you will be better at your job, better at customer service than less informed people, and help your employer and yourself be more successful. As a big bonus, you will save yourself a lot of hassle and a lot of grief.

The Customer Service Zone Web Site

I’ve created a Web site called the Customer Service Zone, where you will find hundreds of articles on customer service. Use of the site is free of charge. It is one of the best free Internet resources on customer service in the world and over one million people have visited. Come by and you can have your say, comment and ask questions. To visit, go to and continue to learn and develop your customer service skills.


I continue to be grateful to McGraw-Hill for providing the opportunity for my books to exist. Specifically, I’d like to thank Mary Glenn for her help in defining the focus of this book.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


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