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Introduction

When we give, we receive – when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them.

Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

customer-service-training-book-smile
The Delightful Deli
This book is based on the simple premise that good service is good business that if you treat your customers right, you’ll be rewarded in return. Doing what customers love is a proven, guaranteed way to increase customer loyalty and sell more, without gimmicks or expensive marketing.

When I think about amazing customer service – the kind that dazzles people and makes them want to tell their friends – I think of Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Zingerman’s is an Ann Arbor institution beloved by locals and out-of-towners alike. The deli welcomes over 500,000 visitors a year and boasts sales of more than $12 million annually, due in no small part to a culture of exceptional customer service.

On a recent visit to Zingerman’s I felt like I’d landed in a food lover’s version of Disney World. My friend and I were greeted by an employee the second we walked in the door. His “Hello!” was warm and enthusiastic, he made great eye contact, and his smile was genuine.

In the 20 minutes we spent exploring the deli before sitting down to eat our sandwiches, we interacted with at least five different employees – all of them smiling, welcoming, seeming to anticipate our every desire. They asked us where we were from, answered questions, recommended their favorite foods, and offered samples of anything in the store. We found ourselves smiling as we walked out the door.

Zingerman’s always seems to be full of paying customers – even at 3 p.m. on a weekday – and it’s no wonder. Great customer service makes customers smile. Smiling customers spend more money, become profitable repeat customers, and tell their friends. It really is a guaranteed recipe for success.

With the advent of social media, the marketing power of satisfied customers has only increased. Sixty-two percent of consumers have used social media for customer service issues, and these consumers will typically tell over 40 potential customers about exceptional customer service. This is amazing news for anyone reading this book!

But beware – dissatisfied customers pack even more power. Consumers who use social media for customer service issues will typically tell over 50 potential customers about poor service. And overall, one in four consumers will post a negative comment on a social media site following a poor customer service experience.

When you factor in the ripple effect of social media, one negative testimonial can easily reach hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers. No business or salesperson can afford this type of negative advertising, but many are getting it without even knowing.
 

A Kid and His Punching Bag
On the flip side, an unhappy customer can be an opportunity in disguise. When I was 10 years old, I had a punching bag that leaked. I decided to send it back and wrote a letter to Everlast explaining my problem. I really didn’t expect to hear anything back, but two weeks later a package arrived. To my surprise and delight, it contained a nice letter from Everlast – and a brand new punching bag.

The story might have ended there, but the new bag also leaked. I sent it back again, this time really expecting the cold shoulder. To my shock and amazement, Everlast sent me another nice letter along with another replacement punching bag – this time, their top of the line model. This bag did not leak, and I went on to use it happily for many years.

Needless to say, I was thrilled by my experience with Everlast (picture me as a boy smiling from ear to ear), and I’ve been a satisfied customer ever since. I am still telling my punching bag story, even after all these years. Everlast not only won me back with their amazing customer service, they created a customer, and an ambassador, for life.

It doesn’t surprise me that, after more than 100 years in business, Everlast continues to be a brand leader. They truly know how to create satisfied customers and increase sales in the process. On average, a satisfied (but formerly frustrated) customer will tell five people about the great job a company did resolving their issue (not to mention people like me who tell far more). That’s 25 positive reviews for every five complaints handled well. And this positive advertising is absolutely free.

Resolving complaints effectively is just one way to make your customers smile and create positive word of mouth marketing. In this book, you’ll learn dozens more. As you use the simple yet powerful customer service and sales techniques presented here, you’ll watch as your customers – or clients, patients, or donors – become loyal fans and ambassadors.
 

Why This Book?
Too often customer satisfaction is ignored or taken for granted. While 80% of companies think they’re providing superior service, customers say only 8% are hitting the mark. Nine in ten Americans say that businesses “fail to exceed” their expectations. Poor customer service costs U.S. businesses an estimated $83 billion a year.

There are plenty of sales and customer service books out there, and many of them are very good. The advantage this book has over others is that it’s a quick and easy read. This means: 1) you’ll actually read it, and 2) you can start today. You can read this book cover to cover in 60 minutes or less – or work chapter by chapter picking up a new technique in just minutes a day.

Early in my career, I established, owned, and ran a highly successful award-winning specialty store. Fundamental to its success was a six-week employee training program that I created to guarantee outstanding customer service, ensure repeat business and positive word of mouth marketing, and maximize sales.

The results were nothing short of amazing. Employees gained the confidence to interact with and satisfy customers, shoppers became buyers and ambassadors, and the store saw record sales.

In Smile, I’ve collected together powerful tips and techniques from this training program and from over 30 years of successful selling. These techniques will help you create an army of fans and ambassadors – customers who will stick by you, become customers for life, and spread the word about your business to others through testimonials and referrals.
 

If you’re an employer, this book will help you:

  • Increase sales, repeat business, and positive buzz – starting today!
  • Achieve record service numbers and profits
  • Save money on expensive training
  • Train and orient new employees
  • Refresh and upgrade skills for seasoned staff
  • Improve employee confidence, morale, and productivity


If you’re an employee, this book will help you:

  • Build the service and sales skills you need to succeed in your job
  • Energize and advance your career
  • Become comfortable and confident with sales or fundraising
  • Build life-long customer relationships
  • Enjoy your work more than you ever imagined


Whether you’re an employer or an employee, this simple, practical guide will help you make immediate, dramatic improvements to your customer service and sales – improvements that will help you increase customer satisfaction and sell more.
 

Who Should Read This Book
If you work with people on a regular basis – in person, on the phone, online, or via written correspondence, this book is for you. If you work in sales, if you own or run a business or nonprofit or work for a government agency, if you regularly or periodically communicate with clients or customers, if you provide any type of service, dispense information, or resolve complaints – in all of these cases and more, this book is for you.
 

This book is perfect for:

  • Sales, customer service, and other professionals looking to succeed and advance their careers
  • Employers and managers seeking a powerful, cost-effective training resource to improve customer service and increase sales
  • Young people entering the job market for the first time
  • People switching jobs
  • Nonprofit staff and volunteers
  • Anyone who works with the public


Whatever your enterprise, you’ll learn how easy it is to dazzle your customers and keep them coming back and talking positively about you and your business.

This book also includes sales tips to help you if you are one of the many employees who are uncomfortable with or afraid of selling (or fundraising) or who simply don’t have a lot of experience or training in sales. The tips and techniques presented here will help you listen, ask the right questions, and sell products like a professional. If you’re shy at sales, this book will give you the confidence you need to succeed.

Even seasoned salespeople will find tips and tricks in this book that will make them more effective and successful. Who is this book for? The answer is simple: this book is for you!

Smile is, quite simply, the fastest, easiest, most cost-effective investment you can make to surprise and delight your customers and create a profitable business or career. Now get out there and smile!
 

How to Get the Most Out of This Book

The Top Ten
This book begins with the “Top Ten” of customer service and sales techniques. If you take away nothing else from this book, these 10 powerful techniques will help you transform your relationship with customers and increase sales. You’ll learn how easy it is to surprise and delight your customers, make them smile from ear to ear, and keep them coming back.

More Amazing Service and Sales Techniques
The remainder of the book builds on the Top Ten, offering additional tips to help you give great service (Keep Them Smiling), increase sales (Sell More), handle difficult sales situations (When There’s a Problem), and build customer loyalty (Create a Customer for Life). If you take the tips and techniques in these chapters to heart, your sales and customer service success will skyrocket. Trust me – it really works!

How to Use This Book
This book is the result of over 30 years of sales and customer service experience. If the ideas are new to you, you may want to take some time to digest and practice each chapter before moving on to the next. If you already have a strong background in customer service or sales, you can use this book as a refresher course or reference tool. You can read straight through or consult the Table of Contents to find the tips you most need to work on.

If you’re using this book to train new employees or current staff, choose one or two concepts to highlight and practice each day or each week. If your staff is more seasoned, you may want to have them review the book as a whole before zeroing in on the concepts you most need to work on given your industry or service sector and your own unique challenges.

Make It Stick
It’s astonishing how quickly we forget things. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, take a few minutes each month to review this book so the best practices presented here become habit. This will keep you sharp – and keep your customers delighted!

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