Book Review: Customer Service the Sandler Way by Anne MacKeigan

custservicesandlerIt is much easier to keep a customer than it is to win one and the way to keep a customer is to give fantastic Customer Service. In Customer Service the Sandler Way: 48 Rules for Strategic Customer Care, Anne MacKeigan offers 48 Rules for Strategic Customer Care and adds another gem to the library of the Sandler Selling System. In a small but surprisingly fully packed 9 chapters MacKeigan offers the reader a comprehensive  description of how to build, develop, train and maintain a team that delivers high quality customer care.

Chapter 1 provides guidance on how to hire a dream team of customer service professionals.  She recommends selecting those with a ‘bias for action’, people who work well with process, who have strong empathy, good manners and a strong sense of personal responsibility.

In chapter 2 MacKeigan introduces the 4 levels of training and the explores the contribution this training has in building the skills and processes for a productive team. This includes a basic discussion on the different ways that people communicate and how to build rapport quickly. This introduction is then expanded upon in some details over the next 4 chapters, which reinforces the Sandler experience and justifies the drive for high quality training.

Chapter 7 discusses the rules for building effective processes.  In this case, it is based around customer service but the approach to building systems would be effective in other areas of business. Keeping the processes simple allows the team to provide a consistent service solution and hiring with a bias for action allows the individuals to act to ensure the long term retention of customers.  Your sales team has gone to the effort of finding a customer, the least you and your team can do is work hard to keep them.

Chapter 8 reviews the customer service approach and explores how it can be extended to help identify future sales opportunities. As your service team has the potential for talking with your customers too, they have the opportunity to advance your business with both repeat sales and cross selling. The philosophy of a Sandler trained team member is that everyone is a sales person!

Chapter 9 focuses on the the rules for Up-Serving. There are levels of customer service that give your company a reputation for looking after your customers.  And there are levels of customer service that reflects the belief that serving the customer is the highest level of performance for the company.    The companies that excel in customer service become household names for all the right reasons. MacKeigan sites Starbucks, L.L. Bean and Marks and Spencer as exemplars of customer service who, encourage their staff to give more than they are paid to do and who make customer service their priority.

Customer Service the Sandler Way: 48 Rules for Strategic Customer Care is another great addition to the Sandler library.

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