Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct
by P.M. Forni
Choosing Civility is about counteracting the “coarsening of America.” It was published in 2002, but is more relevant than ever.
“Being civil means being constantly aware of others and weaving restraint, respect, and consideration into the fabric of this awareness… When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that.”
“Every act of kindness is, first of all, an act of attention… When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.”
“Restraint is our inner designated driver. We all have it, and we all can learn to summon it whenever we need it… Restraint is an infusion of thinking—and thoughtfulness—into everything we do.”
Fans Not Customers: How to Create Growth Companies in a No Growth World
by Vernon W. Hill II with Bob Andelman
Vernon W. Hill II founded Commerce Bank in 1973. In 2007, the bank “was sold to Toronto-based TD Bank for $8.5 billion, producing a 30-year, 23 percent annual shareholder return. Everyone profited, including shareholders and team members.” In 2010, he co-founded Metro Bank, bringing the same service culture to British banking. In Fans Not Customers he reveals the secret sauce of his business model. This book is about branding, differentiation, corporate culture, and organic growth, but the dominant theme is providing exceptional customer service. Continue reading
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality
by Jacob Tomsky
If you travel frequently you might be curious about the inner workings of hotels. The subtitle captures the essence of this book: “a reckless memoir of hotels, hustles, and so-called hospitality.” Jacob Tomsky starts out at a luxury hotel in New Orleans as a valet parking attendant, working his way up to positions of increasing responsibility. Later he moves to New York City and settles in as a front desk agent. He shares many stories about guests and employees, although “to protect the guilty and innocent alike” he has changed the names of the hotels and people he writes about.
Should you feel safe leaving your property unattended in a hotel? Consider the story about Tomsky teaching a coworker how to drive a manual transmission. “We burned the life out of a guest’s clutch teaching Eddie to drive. It smelled like a metal-and-oil barbecue up there.” Continue reading
The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness
by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval
You may not be familiar with the authors’ names, but you are probably familiar with their work. They are the founding partners of the advertising agency responsible for the Aflac duck campaign. One of them wrote the “I want to be a Toys R Us Kid” jingle earlier in her career.
Their message is that being nice (but not phony) in personal and professional encounters builds goodwill, which can lead to big and small rewards. Many examples are included in the book. Continue reading
The Kindness Revolution: The Company-Wide Culture Shift that Inspires Phenomenal Customer Service
by Ed Horrell
Ed Horrell writes about poor customer service in American business. “What is really surprising, however, is the number of companies that view service as the item to cut in order to make more money. They decide to focus on getting new customers at the expense of keeping existing customers loyal… They lose sight of the fact that it usually costs around five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. ” Continue reading
Treat Your Customers: Thirty Lessons on Service and Sales That I Learned at my Family’s Dairy Queen Store
by Bob Miglani
Miglani uses situations from his parents’ Dairy Queen store as the basis for customer service lessons applicable to business in general–including Fortune 500 companies like the one where he works as a sales executive. Thirty bite-size chapters in plain English make this a quick read.
The common thread throughout this book is a mindset focused on pleasing customers and earning their repeat business. Topics include customer service, up-selling, work ethic, leadership, and supplier relationships. Continue reading
Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business
By Frances Frei and Anne Morriss
Customer service is not an afterthought. In order to provide consistently excellent service, it must be baked in to the business model. In Uncommon Service, authors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss explain that great service is “made possible—profitable, sustainable, scalable—by designing a system that sets everyone up to excel.” Continue reading