I just finished reading How to Talk to Customers by Diane Berenbaum and Tom Larkin. It is a good read and is filled with case studies and anecdotes. The authors show how any customer dialogue can be evaluated and improved.
The purpose of the book is to show you how to interact with customers so the customers feel positive about your company and their experience with you. The material in the book is based on their MAGIC customer service training program. MAGIC stands for Make A Good Impression on the Customer.
I think the book does a reasonably good job of this, but my personal observation is that any system that requires long lists of steps to be performed (33 in one list alone) is not addressing the real basics of customer interaction: respect.
This book deals with the actions involved and does a good job of that, but does not deal with respecting the customer. If you follow the steps involved, you can certainly seem like you are granting importance to the customers needs, but attitude stems from personal convictions and a lack of respect will undermine the most careful attempts at making a good impression.
Respect for the customer underlies every successful customer interaction. If you respect customers, this book will make great sense and will help sharpen your skills.
On the other hand, this book and the training system behind it may be viewed with scorn in a corporate environment where call center personnel are rated by how little time they spend on each call. This is, of course, a corporation that has little or no respect for customers. Handling customer calls is regarded as an expense, not as an obligation.
If you want to sharpen your customer handling skills, this book will help you.
If you deeply respect your customers and their needs, you may already know much that is in it.