Beware of the person who thinks they know it all.
Elite customer service professionals know something the rest don't. You must never stop learning. Each day is an opportunity to gain new skills, insights, and perspectives.
So, where do you start?
Here are 51 terrific resources you can use to deepen your customer service knowledge. Most are low-cost or no-cost. Your biggest investment will be your time.
The great part about a book is it can go really in-depth into a particular topic. Here are some of my favorite customer service books. (And yes, I've read them all.)
- The Amazement Revolution by Shep Hyken
- High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service by Micah Solomon
- Be Your Customer’s Hero by Adam Toporek
- Delight Your Customers by Steve Curtin
- Uncommon Service by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss
- Reinventing the Wheel by Chris Zane
- Strategic Customer Service by John A. Goodman
- The Science of Service by Wendi Pomerance Brick
- The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey
- What's Your Purple Goldfish? by Stan Phelps
- The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon and Nick Toman
- Human Sigma by John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund
- Service Failure by Jeff Toister (I can't leave out my own book!)
Reading blogs is a great way to stay up to date on the latest customer service trends. Here are some blogs that I enjoy on a regular basis.
- Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog
- Customers That Stick
- CX Journey
- Communicate Better Blog
- Help Scout Blog
- 360 Connext
- Customer Experience Matters
- One Reach
- Provide Support Blog
- Zendesk Blog
- The Retail Doctor Blog
- Loyalty Blog
- Fonolo Customer Service Blog
- Win the Customer
Pssst! You can receive a free copy of 10 Customer Service Activities to Supercharge Your Team if you subscribe to my Inside Customer Service blog.
Why go to a training class when the training class can come to you? There's a growing collection of customer service training videos on lynda.com. You'll need a subscription to view courses in their entirety, but you can get a free 10-day trial.
- Leading a Customer-Centric Culture
- Customer Service Fundamentals
- Using Customer Surveys to Improve Service
- Managing a Customer Service Team
You don't need to post updates on what you had for lunch. Twitter is a great resources for discovering customer service ideas and connecting with customer service leaders.
- Who to follow: ICMI’s Top 50 #cctr Thought Leaders
- Call center Tweet chat: #icmichat (Tuesdays at 10am Pacific)
- General customer service Tweet chat: #custserv chat (Tuesdays at 6pm Pacific)
Tip: You don't need a Twitter account to follow hashtag conversations. Just click on the links above.
OK, these are definitely not low or no-cost. They are wonderfully immersive experiences where you can learn about the latest trends and meet a lot of customer professionals and thought leaders. Here are four conferences I've attended and can recommend:
- CRM Evolution
- Customer Service Experience
- Contact Center Demo (Save $200 if you use code SPKR at checkout.)
- Contact Center Expo
There are many organizations that focus on providing cutting-edge research, engaging content, and educational opportunities. They typically have a lot of free resources and content on their websites plus additional content and research for a fee.
- International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)
- HDI (focused on technical support)
- Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA)
- Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business (SOCAP)
- Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE)
- Contact Center Networking Group (CCNG)
There's a wealth of great customer service discussions and information to be found on LinkedIn. Your own connections are a terrific start. Here are a few more resources:
- LinkedIn Pulse: Customer Experience Channel
- Inside Customer Service Group
- ICMI Group
- Customer Service Champions Group
I've found this is a great way to spend time while traveling. Planes, trains, or automobiles - you name it! I'm still discovering podcasts, but here are two I enjoy:
What Else You Got?
These are 51 great resources but I know there's more. Many more. So, what else would you recommend for someone with an insatiable customer service curiosity?