2014 saw plenty of articles filling up the virtual space with bytes and bytes of data. Most have gone past us, without leaving a mark. But some have stuck long in our memory cells and have gone on to have an impact on the way we do business.
The following list of articles are those that we consider some of the best ones written on the subject of customer service, in 2014. Written by different writers, they all share one trait in common: they help us become better at providing customer service.
1. One of my favourite Custserv exponents, Micah Solomon opened the year at Forbes magazine, with Rule #1 Of The Customer Service Experience, And Of Business Success” and it was a doozy. The central idea of the article – and this is something that every one of us that has a customer must remember at all times – is that “the customer is at the center of the customer’s universe”. Simple but oh so easy to overlook! When we accept that the customer doesn’t give a hoot about anything other than himself and that is okay, everything else will just fall into place.[pullquote]”Organic business growth is ultimately the ambition of every business, large or small. Too often our focus on rapid growth outpaces our capabilities in meeting growth objectives.” — SHAWN CASEMORE[/pullquote]
2. Taking real-life examples from some of the best in the business, Greg Kihlstrom wrote about 5 unconventional approaches to customer service. In the article, he described the unconventional approaches to customer service as practiced by five of the popular brands and more importantly, how we can apply it to our own cases. Methods like using your customer support to crowdsource, like Telstra, to involving the customer in product development, a la Hyatt and Starbucks, the article is a great kickstart for anyone that finds themselves in a rut.
3. It recently got absorbed into the Burger King family but Tim Burton’s, the Canadian fast-food chain is well-known for providing its customers with great customer service. Which is a pretty fantastic feat for any ol’ coffee and donut chain, right? Written before the BK acquisition, Shawn Casemore, the author of this piece lists three of the Tim Burton tenets that any small business can adapt to ramp up its own level of customer service.
4. Have a phone, take a selfie, is the current world-wide trend. What if you could somehow, marry that with, say, customer engagement? Outlandish? Maybe. Impossible? Nope. Two retailers, Zappos and Sephora did just that. Harnessing the public’s love of taking selfies to engaging better with your customers is a brilliant move and I am sure that this will be a trend that will spread and spread! [pullquote]”Make it easier for the customer to be right…..Imagine the loyalty and return business you could build by delivering customer service that exceeds customer expectations every time.”[/pullquote]
5. The opening line of this article nails it: “While a ton of advice exists on how companies can provide outstanding service, few talk about why it doesn’t happen.” The author then goes on to describe four everyday issues in customer service and what to do to fix them. Presented in a problem/solution format, the article is a neat, bite-sized read in correcting those niggling errors.
6. How can you have a list of top customer service articles of a year without featuring an ode to Amazon? I waded though many, I tell you and this one, is one of the nicest ones I read, for two reasons. It offers a great example of the Amazonian tradition of going the extra mile for the customer, unprompted. At the same time, it gives us a peek into life in a place sans healthy competition, which is a scary prospect indeed!
We are at the half-way mark of our Top 12. We will publish the remaining 6 that made it to our Best list of 2014 next week. In the meantime, do share with us which articles made the biggest impact on you this past year.