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BOOK REVIEW: Customer Service Intelligence: Perspectives for Human Resources and Training, Lynn Van Der Wagen, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008.

March 14, 2010

Do you remember when SERVQUAL was first introduced in the nineties? That was the first time also for the term “Service Excellence” to boom, and everyone has urged to train themselves on it. Until now.

Do you realize that when the science of Service Excellence was misconducted upon the almighty of Standardized Operating Procedures (SOP), the service staffs’ personal development got repressed? That was because SOP is dully generic and inhumane. That was when service in the whole world was once robotic, because so very many customer service trainers proudly delivered the training in his/her not-so-big company based on everything he/she got from materials owned by a much bigger company. You know, maybe he/she knew some big guy from that big business. 🙂

Those paragraphs above are not in this book by this multi-styled author, who has numerous success stories of being a mom, a teacher, a trainer, a consultant, a writer, etc. But at least they will kick off your perceptiveness upon what might have driven Lynn Van Der Wagen to write this clear, concise, comprehensive, and practical book titled Customer Service Intelligence: Perspectives for Human Resources and Training.

Wagen brings us a grasp that Customer Service training is not merely motivational, but also analytical, behavioural, and organizational. She takes us submerge into deeper scene of Customer Service through and from various sensitivities, namely training design, services marketing, emotional intelligence, reinforcement theory, leadership and motivation, competence-based training, expertise development, sociocultural perspectives, activity theory, and even Zen and mindfulness. In the end, she suggests us to model a processual analysis of customer service training in which five components are a mixed-well blend: a learning imperative, shared vision, cross-functional teamwork, open-mindedness, and experience sharing.

This book is best for training professionals who deal with customer service training who don’t want their existence in the training room to be the only considered way out of service calamity. This book suggests training professionals to work in tandem with the whole to create a service-oriented organization.

Once you’ve comprehended this book, you’d be super strategic wherever you are. And if you are a training manager in a hotel, you’d be also capable of holding, say, an executive assistant manager position. In short, you’d be a great agent of Customer Service Intelligence.

In bookstores in Jakarta, this 187-page book is worth Rp. 525.000,-.

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(Contribution of Tedi Irawan)

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