Customer service is a challenging facet of business management. At the enterprise level, customer satisfaction is dependent on a complex set of interwoven influences, all driven by different departments and even hinged on the relative mood of a single customer service rep on a given day. For those days when you need some expert insights on improving customer service, these resources are must-reads for your personal customer service toolkit.

  1. How Online Personalization Can Create Compelling Customer Experiences and Build a Better Business – This is an excellent resource from KISSmetrics on how personalization can enhance customer service, along with some real examples of this concept in use. Simple things like remembering a customer’s name go a long way in boosting customer satisfaction, and it’s a tactic that can be used both online and in the field.
  2. Brands Are People, Too – An e-book by Fidelum Partners, this resource highlights the importance of brand personality in fostering relationships with customers. It turns out that customers tend to relate to brands the same way they handle interpersonal relationships, giving brands with the ability to exude warmth and competence a distinct advantage.
  3. Best Practices for Delivering Outstanding Customer Support – A free, 40+ page e-book from HelpScout, this thorough guide covers everything from strategy to deriving data-driven insights and putting them to practical use.
  4. Five Free Customer Service Training Games – In desperate need of a team skill-building session? Business Training Works describes five free training games you can implement easily to get your team engaged.
  5. Service Provider Challenges – Service management is a challenging field when it comes to customer service. This interactive tool from ClickSoftware takes you through a variety of possible scenarios and best practices for overcoming common obstacles.
  6. 50 Activities for Achieving Excellent Customer Service – A comprehensive guide on customer service training and delivery, you’ll be consulting this resource more than once. Authored by Darryl S. Doane and Rose D. Sloat, this free guide is issued by HRD Press and covers everything from icebreakers to effectively handling uncomfortable situations.
  7. Getting the Most Out of the Employee-Customer Encounter – Love data? Gallup Business Journal taps into recent findings to derive actionable insights on maximizing those critical face-to-face encounters. The biggest takeaway? It takes an engaged worker to create an engaged customer – and it’s up to you to teach them how to become brand ambassadors.
  8. 10 Strategies for Customer Service Success – From an older issue of CRM magazine, this article provides 10 in-depth examples of brands using various strategies to deliver better customer service. Even though it was written in 2004, these clear examples of problem-strategy-result are just as valuable today.
  9. The 20 Customer Service Facts You Should Know – Virgilio Paralisan, a 15-year veteran of the customer service, marketing, and brand management fields, reveals 20 essential customer service facts that he learned through his real-world experiences with leading brands such as IBM, Intel, and Microsoft.
  10. Increase Customer Satisfaction (9 Strategies) – This resource highlights nine strategies for increasing customer service – along with a plethora of tools, articles, and other resources to enhance each point and help you implement those strategies more easily. From writing customer feedback questionnaires to measuring customer satisfaction and the metrics that matter, this article covers a variety of critical aspects in customer service.

Every business deals with customers on some level. Whether you serve in a role that entails delivering customer service, manage a team that interfaces with customers, or lead a full field service management operation, maintaining a personal bank of valuable customer service resources is a practice that will serve you well. These 10 resources are a great starting foundation that you can – and should – add to over time.