Just because a book is full of really great information doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to read. For example, take John Ragsdale’s wonderful first book:
Lessons Unlearned: 25 Years in Customer Service. John Ragsdale (@john_ragsdale).
Unlike the books I’ve reviewed earlier. I’m not even going to pretend to be objective here: I’m a big fan of John. He’s familiar to many of you as Vice President of technology research for TSIA; he came to that role having worked on the front lines of service delivery, as a manager, as a vendor, and as a Forrester Analyst and VP of their CRM research practice. So if it has something to do with service and support, he’s seen it, he’s done it, and he has a great story to tell about it, too. Lessons Unlearned is refreshingly free of corporate-speak; while he writes as a member of TSIA’s leadership team, what comes through is John’s warm, authentic, and positive voice.
Oh, and does that voice have some things to say.
For support professionals, he has a great section on metrics, showing how to use them in combination to assess what’s happening and to inform good conversations, rather than using measures blindly or in isolation to reward and punish. He also describes support employee archetypes—the Slammer, the Geek, the Socialite—that will have you smiling in recognition of the uncannily accurate portrayals of your colleagues…and perhaps yourself.
One section that should be required reading for anyone involved in a technology procurement exercise is “Selecting Technology,” which turns common practice on its head. (When you’re thinking back on a successful relationship with a technology vendor, did the 327 requirements in your RFP really end up being the high order bit?)
As a reformed product management and marketing professional, I especially enjoyed the advice to vendors about dealing with analysts and launching a successful startup. If anyone can figure out how to ship this book back to me in 1998, I’d appreciate it.
OK, there’s no mistaking Lessons Unlearned for 50 Shades of Anything. But you’ll enjoy it nearly as much, and you won’t have to hide it behind a copy of The Economist, either.