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SkillSharpener’s Web Extras

Each month, SkillSharpener gives team leaders, supervisors, and managers the senior level insights and training materials they need to help their frontline staff get the most value from The Customer Communicator newsletter.

We often have additional material that we just can’t fit in the newsletter. These resources are presented below.

January 2018

What resolutions will you and your reps be making for the New Year? — Following are resources with suggestions on important areas for improvement in the New Year:

December 2017

Make sure your reps are prepared to deal with angry and irate customers — Here’s more advice from Nancy Friedman on important topics covered in this month’s issue of Customer Communicator.

November 2017

Adding the human element to customer service — This month author Jeff Toister recommends two resources from his website.

October 2017

Support your reps’ efforts to become top achievers — For more advice for both reps and managers from You Can Win author Shiv Khera, please check out the following resources:

September 2017

Create a culture of appreciation — A culture of appreciation can boost positive relationships between coworkers and increase engagement and productivity, says Dr. Paul White in this month’s issue of Customer Communicator. Here are additional resources:

August 2017

Are your reps prepared to respond to complaints about coworkers? — Customer complaints about coworkers happen more often than one might think, and it pays to build a service culture that knows how to deal with those issues. This month’s issue of Customer Communicator and these resources will help.

July 2017

Support your reps’ trust-building efforts. — When there’s a high-level of trust in the service center, people communicate well, work well together, and strive to meet common goals. Without trust, guarded communication, speculation, and disengagement can get in the way of productivity and serving customers. These resources can help:

June 2017

Make sure your reps can handle service issues via social media. — More and more customer service departments are being called upon to handle customer issues that arise on social media. These resources can help:

May 2017

Old-fashioned service skills are still important in today’s high-tech world. — Use these resources to get back to basics.

April 2017

What are you doing to help your reps improve their written communication skills? — In today’s service world, written communication skills can be just as — or more — important than oral communication skills. Here are resources you can use to help your reps boost those skills.

March 2017

Make sure your reps are practicing positive vocal skills — A customer service rep’s voice can provide a clear message to customers about how willing they are to help. Here are some resources managers can use to make sure that message is a positive one:

February 2017

Make sure reps don’t make things worse when delivering bad news to customers — The wrong words, the wrong attitude, too much information, and too little information can all contribute to making a difficult situation worse. These resources can help.

January 2017

Will your staff be ready and equipped to deal with 2017’s emerging trends? — 2017 will be full of changes. Here are additional suggestions from this month’s contributors on how to make sure that your staff is prepared.

December 2016

Managers can help to combat stress in the workplace — Job and workplace stress is a major obstacle to productivity. But you can help keep it under control with these resources.

November 2016

Are your reps providing positively outrageous service? — For more ideas on providing positively outrageous service and building a personal brand, check out the following resources:

October 2016

How successful are your reps at managing their time? — Here are some additional resources for time management:

September 2016

Reinforce reps’ efforts to use positive language with customers — The following resources will help your reps keep things positive with customers.

August 2016

Help your reps deal effectively with workplace change — The following resources will help your staff through periods of change:

July 2016

Ongoing training and reinforcement keep listening skills sharp — Use the following resources to help reps hone their listening skills.

June 2016

Making teamwork work in the service center — For additional ideas and insights on improving teamwork in the service center, read and share these articles:

May 2016

A car-maker’s hard-won lessons apply to all service professionals — Joseph A. Michelli, author of Driven to Delight, reports on Mercedes-Benz USA’s efforts to improve its customer experience and what customer service reps in general can learn from that experience. Michelli offers additional advice in the links below:

  • In this blog post Michelli suggests how managers can leave a “leadership legacy” in their organizations.
  • Michelli has also worked with and reported on the Starbucks service mission in his book Leading the Starbucks Way. Here’s a summary article from the Customer Service Group archives.

April 2016

Help reps to make a more positive impression with customers — A group of well-known customer service experts bring their expertise to bear in this issue of The Customer Communicator to answer the question, “What can reps do to make a more positive impression on customers?” The links below offer additional help from some of those experts.

March 2016

Help your reps to “lean in” to criticism — In this month’s issue of The Customer Communicator newsletter, Richard S. Gallagher, author of The Customer Service Survival Kit, offers reps a strategy for “leaning in” to criticism as a way to gain agreement. The links below offer additional tools:

February 2016

Don’t subject your reps to a toxic work environment — Paul White, coauthor of Rising Above a Toxic Workplace, describes the dangers of a toxic workplace and suggests ways that reps can cope in this month’s issue of The Customer Communicator. The links below offer additional tools for dealing with a toxic workplace.

January 2016

Teach your reps the importance of asking customers the right questions — The January issue of The Customer Communicator provides advice from writer and speaker Shep Hyken on building rapport and solving problems by asking the right questions. The links below offer even more for managers to work with:

December 2015

Create an environment that encourages reps to reach out to others — This month The Customer Communicator offers advice from Tony Fielek, author of The Success Process Handbook, on how reps can build relationships with others in the workplace. The links below suggest how managers can help to create that kind of relationship-building environment.

November 2015

Will your reps be ready to adapt to evolutionary changes in customer service? — The November issue of The Customer Communicator offers advice from John Goodman, author of Customer Experience 3.0 on some of the skills reps will need in the customer service center of the near future. The links below provide some additional insight.

October 2015

Keep your reps from falling into bad service habits — The October issue of The Customer Communicator offers advice from Jeff Toister, author of Service Failure, on how reps can avoid falling into bad service habits. The links below offer additional information and advice:

September 2015

Help reps develop the skills they need to provide exceptional service — In the September issue of The Customer Communicator, Flavio Martins, author of Win the Customer, offers advice on how reps can create a more positive customer experience. The links below offer further advice on winning customers.

August 2015

Help your customer service reps to develop frontline leadership skills by building a team culture — The August issue of The Customer Communicator offers Renée Evenson’s perspective on the importance of leadership skills for everyone on the service team. The links below offer additional advice on how to build a culture that nurtures leaders.

July 2015

Give your reps the range they need to become customer service heroes — The July issue of The Customer Communicator offers Adam Toporek’s advice on how reps can be heroes to their customers. The links below provide additional suggestions for achieving and celebrating “hero” status.

  • Take this link to our Customer Service Week website (this year’s theme is “Everyday Heroes”) for ideas on how to recognize the heroes on your service team.
  • Read an excerpt from Adam Toporek’s book Be Your Customer’s Hero. You’ll find four sales techniques to share with your staff.

June 2015

Dealing with the irate, cranky, or cantankerous customer — In the June issue of The Customer Communicator, author Mark Goulston offers an array of useful tips on handling difficult customers. The links below will connect you with additional advice from Goulston.

May 2015

Phone skills are still important for service reps — Nancy Friedman of Telephone Doctor Inc. thinks phone skills should remain at the top of reps’ basic training needs list. And here are some links to related skills that might help:

April 2015

Promote reps’ loyalty-building efforts — Customer service author and consultant Chip R. Bell wants companies to put more effort into connecting with customers. These links will help:

March 2015

Create a positive work environment — Author and motivator Jon Gordon believes it’s important for managers to promote a positive attitude at work. These resources will help.

February 2015

How to avoid saying “no” — According to Richard Gallagher, positive experiences are the rule when reps can turn a “no” into a “yes.” Learn more.

January 2015

Search for customers’ unspoken needs — Getting at customers’ unspoken needs is not always a matter of asking them directly, says Rick Delisi, co-author of The Effortless Experience. But using this metric can help.

December 2014

Mentoring is more than a one-on-one relationship — Not quite sure if a formal mentoring program is right for your service team. Consider this advice from Beth Carvin.


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