Many companies focus their efforts on customer-facing activities such as customer service, customer care, and customer experience. The definitions of these terms differ, but in the practice of customer support, they are intertwined. Customer service describes the assistance that a company provides to its customers post-purchase, such as handling customer complaints, while customer care refers to how well a customer is cared for throughout their communications with a brand. The term customer experience is inclusive of all interactions that an individual has with a brand over the lifetime of their customer journey.
Customer care continues to be a differentiator for brands. Recent data from McKinsey indicates that companies with developed social care competency can increase YoY revenue per contact at a rate nearly 20% higher than those without the capability. Customers who feel cared for are more likely to make repeat purchases or take advantage of upselling and cross-selling offers, creating a revenue-boosting opportunity for companies.
To help you develop your customer care strategies, we’ve compiled a list of 50 excellent customer care resources below. We’ve chosen from among the best customer care focused blogs, books, podcasts, webinars, white papers, tools, and training programs to help you learn the latest best practices and refine your tactics. Please note, the following customer care resources are listed alphabetically by category; they are not ranked or rated in any way.
- Customer Care Blogs & Communities
- Customer Care Books
- Customer Care Podcasts
- Customer Care Videos and Webinars
- Customer Care White Papers and Guides
- Customer Care Tools
- Customer Care Examples, Training Resources & Tutorials
Customer Care Blogs & Communities
Cisco’s blog is updated almost daily with new content covering a range of topics that are relevant to customer experience and customer service. Popular categories include data center, collaboration, security, and customer care. The articles focus on the development of technology solutions to meet the evolving demands of customers. You will be sure to find some useful content to help you assess and understand the latest market trends.
Three posts we like from Cisco:
- The Artificial Intelligence Journey in Contact Centers
- The Customer Journey Is the Destination
- Artificial Intelligence in Customer Care
Contact Center Pipeline is a popular monthly magazine that covers news and trends in the contact center industry. Their blog features some of the latest articles and digital content, including quick tips and an Inside View column that goes in-depth to profile popular companies in the industry. A diverse team of over 15 contributing and guest writers provide articles for the blog, and you will find fresh new content each month.
Three posts we like from Contact Center Pipeline:
The Customer Experience Matters blog, from experience management company Qualtrics, is a great resource for exploring the technologies and competencies that matter in the industry. The blog has a lot of great articles about customer experience, customer care, and voice of the customer (VoC) programs. You will also find valuable insights that can assist your research and industry benchmarking activities.
Three posts we like from Customer Experience Matters:
- New Research: The Global State of XM
- Your Organization Is An Experience Factory
- With Customer Service, CARES Beats ACES
The question and answer site Quora hosts a massive, worldwide community and a number of topics that are relevant to the customer service industry. Within the customer service topic, you’ll find questions and answers with interesting insights from actual customers and representatives of various companies. There are also additional topics like CX and CRM that have a large following and are worth exploring.
Three threads we like from Quora:
- What's a bad customer experience you've never forgotten?
- What are the results of poor customer service?
- What was your best encounter with a customer at a restaurant?
As a global leader in CRM software, Salesforce continues to take a leadership role in the development of customer facing initiatives and strategies. On their blog, you’ll find articles covering a ton of useful topics related to customer care, including AI, how-tos, and B2B commerce trends. The blog is updated daily, giving you a large archive of articles to browse and categories to follow.
Three posts we like from Salesforce:
- Social Customer Care: Your Brand and Marketing Differentiator
- How to Be Human: Rewriting the Script for Customer Care
- How to Improve Customer Care: Seven Ways to Step up Your Service
Shep Hyken has become a respected voice in the customer service and experience space. A well-known speaker and author, Shep shares insights on the Customer Service blog and also writes a free weekly newsletter called The Shepard Letter. Some of the popular categories on the blog are Customer Loyalty, Customer Experience, and Customer Service Strategies.
Three posts we like from Shep Hyken:
- Social Customer Care Cannot Be Ignored
- Customer Service and Customer Care – What’s The Difference?
- 20 Ways to Create an Amazing Customer Service Experience in 2020 (Part One)
The Win the Customer blog is run by award-winning customer service blogger and customer experience expert Flavio Martins and Martins’ team. The robust archive contains a lot of great information. Many of the posts include useful infographics for digesting key ideas quickly, and much of the content is focused around customer experience and customer care.
Three posts we like from Win The Customer:
- 10 Simple Tips to Improve Customer Care In Just 1 Day
- Moving from Customer Service to Customer Care in the Age of Customer Experience
- 3 Ways You Can Improve Customer Care with Outsourcing
Customer Care Books
While the book At Your Service is focused on dental practices, it contains many important points that are applicable to businesses of any kind. Dr. Goryczyca explains some of the best ways that a company can develop customer care and service capabilities that truly place their customers at the center of activities. You’ll also find informative tips for differentiating your business in a competitive market through exceptional customer care.
Three key takeaways from At Your Service:
- Utilizing positive communication to create a unique customer-focused culture
- Creating a climate of team empowerment
- Developing service consistency by prioritizing customer service areas of improvement
Sandler Training is considered the world’s largest training organization. They specialize in sales, executive leadership, and success training programs. They have consolidated their core approach to customer service into this book, Customer Service the Sandler Way, giving the reader a thorough overview of the topic. This is a great resource for those looking for a detailed understanding of customer care strategy in practice.
Three key takeaways from Customer Service the Sandler Way:
- Insights into the world-famous Sandler Selling System
- Create and sustain a working customer-centric culture
- The 48 Rules for Strategic Customer Care
The success of Zappos is one of the great business growth stories of our time. Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, has been a popular source of inspiration and know-how since it was first published in 2010. You’ll learn Tony’s perspective on what it takes to start and grow a company that is capable of exceeding customer expectations while creating an engaged and dynamic company culture.
Three key takeaways from Delivering Happiness:
- Tony’s personal path that led to Zappos
- How to balance profits, passion, and purpose
- Create a strong company culture with employee engagement
Leading Loyalty: Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion is a book from the team at FranklinCovey which explores customer loyalty insights gained after a lengthy study. The book features real-world examples and tips shared from customer-facing employees. Hearing these practical case studies can help you form a deep understanding of the relationships between a customer, a brand, and the employees who support it.
Three key takeaways from Leading Loyalty:
- Examples from an extensive study of 1,100 stores and individuals
- How to create small improvements in loyalty over time
- Taking ownership of customer issues and effective follow-up
The Thank You Economy is Gary Vaynerchuk’s description of the drastically changing world of marketing for today’s businesses. Consumers have begun a shift from being “one of the many” to demanding personalized and unique experiences with the brands they admire. The book presents a vision for the evolution of marketing tactics with social media at the center of the shift. It is a great read for a candid look at true customer care using social media.
Three key takeaways from The Thank You Economy:
- How to ensure every employee can engage in authentic customer service
- Ways in which you can “scale” caring throughout your organization
- Social media and how thinking like a mom and pop shop can help you succeed
Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business, from Harvard Business Review Press, is written for those organizations that want to make a serious shift toward a customer-centric business strategy. The authors do a great job of differentiating between the simple desire for great service and actually working to design service excellence into business processes throughout an entire organization.
Three key takeaways from Uncommon Service:
- How to achieve service excellence by finding what customers value most
- Ways to monetize the value of your service efforts
- Why you must have a strategy for managing your customers
Dan Gingiss has over 20 years of experience in a number of customer-facing roles, including marketing, customer experience, and social media. Given that social media is such an important part of customer care, Dan has put together a book that explores this forever-changed landscape of customer experience. Dan discusses ways that companies can make the most of social media to connect with customers and develop a winning engagement strategy.
Three key takeaways from Winning at Social Customer Care:
- Developing your own Social Customer Care Philosophy
- Integrating Social Customer Care with your business
- Navigating social media’s role in the customer experience
Customer Care Podcasts
Adam Toporek and Jeannie Walters are the hosts of the Crack the Customer Code podcast, and they have just passed their 400th episode. The hosts bring their years of experience in customer retention and customer experience to each episode and interview. Crack the Customer Code seeks to learn from business leaders at organizations of all sizes about how to attract and retain loyal customers and raving fans.
Three episodes we like from Crack The Customer Code:
Tema Frank is a customer service speaker and author and host of the Frank Reactions podcast. Tema dives deep into the improvement of customer experience and customer service throughout the insightful episodes. The archive contains some great content that is very relevant to customer care. Tema has over three decades of experience and has interviewed some amazing guests on the show, including Guy Kawasaki and Jeanne Bliss.
Three episodes we like from Frank Reactions:
- To Serve Your Customers Better, Know Yourself Better
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): Hype or Help For Marketers?
- 5 Unbelievable Customer Service Experience Examples
As a podcast that aims to share the best conversations from customer support professionals, Support Drive Recap offers some excellent insights into the inner workings of support desks and customer support departments. Hosts Abby Armada and Diana Potter are customer support professionals, and they add a very human and practical angle to each episode. It is a great show to follow for a view inside the day-to-day challenges of supporting customers.
Three episodes we like from Support Driven Recap:
- 5 Reasons Why Support Teams Need More Negative Feedback
- Networking Like a Human
- 6 Things to Consider when Considering Outsourcing
Blake Morgan is a leader in customer experience and a frequent keynote speaker on the topic. Blake has also written two best-selling books about customer experience. In the podcast, Blake interviews leaders from today’s most innovative companies. The conversations are very strategic and offer some great examples of high-level thinking in the industry and how to keep your employees and your customers engaged.
Three episodes we like from The Modern Customer:
- Building Thoughtful Customer Experiences At Slack
- From Chaos To Clarity: How A Knowledge-Rich Culture Boosts Customer Experience
- Driving Customer Experience At IBM With CMO Michelle Peluso
Customer Care Videos and Webinars
Empowered by Messaging is an on-demand webinar from Sparkcentral presented by Abhay Prasad with featured guest speaker Ian Jacobs from Forrester. The webinar hosts discuss the importance of controlling your customer communications across multiple channels and why you need to focus on providing convenient options. They share best practices and proven strategies for launching a successful digital care program.
Three key takeaways from Empowered by Messaging:
- How to scale your messaging strategy across multiple channels
- Creating a messaging care program for your organization
- What are customer expectations for digital messaging
This hour-long webinar from IBM introduces the concept of AI augmented engagement for customers and how IBM technologies can form the basis for these new forms of communication. The video focuses on the insurance industry and how these new technologies can transform their existing operations and help them achieve new levels of customer engagement. It also offers some good benchmarking examples for how these concepts are being put into practice.
Three key takeaways from Future of Customer Care:
- Introduction of cognitive and augmented intelligence technologies
- How new technologies can transform content centers
- How to navigate the new customer engagement paradigm
This webinar offers an interesting look inside customer care in the cable TV industry. Many cable operators have spent years working to improve metrics that impact customers like service reliability and network capacity. Today, however, requires a more holistic strategy. In this webinar, you will see how the industry is utilizing the concept of customer journey mapping to change the way they support customers.
Three key takeaways from Pay TV Customer Care:
- How to perform customer experience and customer journey mapping
- Which terms are becoming necessary pieces of a customer service approach
- Why improve customer experience is so critical during a rebranding effort
This webinar, Social Customer Care That Builds Brand Loyalty, is a paid event from Social Shakeup that gives you tips about how to turn customers into lifelong brand advocates. The experts on the webinar talk about all aspects of customer service such as mitigating a crisis, how to create great content for customers, and how social media can support your efforts. Automation is also discussed, as well as how bots and messaging apps can improve service.
Three key takeaways from Social Customer Care:
- How to manage your brand’s customer service on social media
- How customers can be turned into brand advocates
- Developing customer care as a competitive advantage
This webinar is presented by G. Keenan Schneider and Michael Patterson from Sprout Social. They discuss the three core segments of social customer care. Managing your preemptive, proactive, and reactive communications together will allow you to have a unified voice in customer communications. The webinar will teach you how these core segments impact your customers and how to properly manage them.
Three key takeaways from The 3 Types of Customer Care:
- How to use pre-emptive care to avoid customer issues
- Why proactive care can spark customer conversations
- How reactive care can be used for inbound social messaging
This free video webinar recording from customer engagement company HGS offers nearly an hour of expert advice and insights. The presentation begins with a market overview and review of major industry trends. For the rest of the webinar, the presenters take a deep dive into customer care utilizing social media, including how to integrate these strategies into your business practices and measure the right metrics.
Three key takeaways from Tips for Launching…:
- How to operationalize Best in Class
- Results from the 2018 ISG Social Collaboration Study
- How to decode your VOC
StoryMe is a video production and strategy company that teaches its clients how to produce great video content for their customers. In this 45-minutes webinar, Video for Customer Care, you can learn how to make relevant content to improve your customer experience with video. Key topics include how to welcome customers with DIY-style videos, ways to replace written manuals with video tutorials, and using creativity to add a unique touch to your video communications.
Three key takeaways from Video for Customer Care:
- Welcome customers with video to make a strong first impression
- Video can make the customer experience more frictionless
- Use personalized video to surprise customers with real value
Customer Care White Papers and Guides
Search Engine Journal has put together this handy guide to help readers understand the importance of social customer care and how to implement new solutions. The article states that social customer care is often overlooked, which can have a negative impact on your ability to differentiate yourself from other brands. This guide also includes a simple 5-step plan for approaching customer care and a helpful FAQ at the end.
Three key takeaways from A Complete Guide to Social Media Customer Service:
- Why you should analyze the past experiences
- How to determine the right channel and team
- How to choose which processes to automate
This white paper is presented by analyst Dick Bucci, founder and principal of Pelorus Associates, and explores the transition of customer care from traditional services to digital platforms. The guide offers modern solutions to many of the problems associated with traditional self-service activities, including the lack of continuity among different channels. Customer service today is a complex function, and this paper can help uncover some ideas for improvement.
Three key takeaways from Customer Care in the Digital Age:
- Some of the problems with traditional self-service
- An explanation for why agent assistance drives costs
- How to manage the complexity of maintaining customer service levels
This white paper, from the Oracle Service Cloud team, is a practical overview of the field service industry and how they can best utilize technology solutions to improve customer experience. Field service technicians are sometimes the only personal contact that a customer may have with your brand. Ensuring that they are well equipped to support and promote a full customer care experience is a real necessity in today’s markets.
Three key takeaways from Field Service and Customer Care:
- How to understand the changing needs of customers
- Ways in which your service model should change to provide better support
- How to set up end-to-end customer service delivery with a cloud-based solution
TTEC is a customer experience management and consulting firm that has been delivering client solutions for over 37 years. This guide presents a deep dive into the subject of automation in the customer care industry, including a look at trends, technology innovations, and the shift of work to digital platforms. The paper also describes how to add automation to a contact center without sacrificing human connection and the ability to build strong customer relationships.
Three key takeaways from the Guide to How Automation is Transforming…:
- How to apply a thoughtful automation approach to contact centers
- How to adapt service workforce to AI transformation
- Why it’s important to combine human and artificial intelligence with systems
Harvard Business Publishing provides resources for corporate learning. This brief, Leading in the Digital Age, discusses the integration of technologies to improve business processes. Using examples from businesses in India, the report analyzes trends that are impacting a shift to digital in the region and how organizations and leadership are adapting. It highlights some important priorities for digital initiatives that leadership should consider going forward.
Three key takeaways from Leading in the Digital Age:
- How major technologies are connecting and adding complexity
- Why technology has caused business leaders to rethink their strategies
- The critical focus areas that leadership needs to understand in the digital age
The description of this Forrester report is, “Automation Remakes The Contact Center Organization.” It includes five important predictions about the future of technology-enabled customer service. The report was prepared for application development and delivery professionals as a way to envision the customer landscape and future needs. You can also read about the changing nature of certain contact center roles as priorities shift.
Three key takeaways from Predictions 2020 Customer Service:
- How automation beyond chatbots will transform service activities
- 5 Key predictions for how AI will impact customer service next year
- How some jobs will be altered while others may not
This guide, from digital transformation consulting firm Perficient, is a great resource for an overview of the major technology trends that are enabling world-class customer care. A strategic approach to customer care is becoming more important as customers seek new support options across multiple platforms. This guide includes a practical five-step process to take before making the switch to a new technology.
Three key takeaways from Smarter, Strategic Customer Care:
- Which technology trends could have the most impact on customer care
- How emerging trends could impact your specific business
- Five important steps you should make before implementing new technology
This white paper from enterprise software company Sprinklr highlights that the average organization’s advertising spend is about 60 times larger than the budget for customer care. As the paper points out, this finding is a clear indication that customers are spending much more on acquiring new customers than supporting existing ones. The report includes insights from executives at leading brands about how they are navigating a transition to more customer care activities.
Three key takeaways from The Customer-First Future of Customer Care:
- Why brands need to rethink what is important for customers
- How to rewire the customer care function to be more effective
- What leading executives think about how to drive these changes
This guide from Whysatisfy provides the reader with industry best practices related to the management of social customer service activities. The document highlights some of the common challenges that face organizations implementing social customer care solutions. In addition, the guide provides specific recommendations for building a social customer care team and measuring the right metrics.
Three key takeaways from The Definitive Guide…:
- How to overcome common social customer care challenges
- Managing and proving the ROI of a customer care operation
- Ways in which you can use bots and AI to enhance customer service
This guide was prepared for executives overseeing quick serve restaurants (QSRs) as a handy reference for managing their customer care strategies. It includes real examples from actual business situations to highlight what successful quick serve social engagement looks like. There are also some useful recommendations for setting up a social customer service platform that can handle today’s modern social demands.
Three key takeaways from The QSR Executive’s Playbook:
- Real-world examples of successful service social engagement
- Social service guidelines and proven tactics
- Workflows and processes for effective quick service support
The State of Digital Customer Experience Report 2019 is the latest annual analysis of changing customer preferences from Conversocial. The report is a comprehensive look at customer behaviors in the marketplace and how these behaviors impact brands’ service offerings. It is a useful reference for gaining a better understanding of how consumers want to interact with brands in the digital world. While it’s not as recent, you might also want to check out The State of Digital Customer Care 2018 for more insights into customers’ digital care expectations.
Three key takeaways from The State of Digital Customer Experience Report 2019:
- 6 customer experience truths that will impact your CX strategy
- Why customers have higher CX expectations compared to last year
- What to prioritize to stay ahead of customer expectations
This white paper provides a case study of the women’s fashion brand Talbots and how they implemented a large-scale customer collaboration platform. It represents a nice example of customer care put into practice and is a great benchmarking resource. The paper takes an in-depth look at all aspects of a truly immersive customer care experience and how customers interact in such an environment.
Three key takeaways from The Talbots’ Experience:
- How to create a more flexible omnichannel experience
- Ways in which software can enable greater customer and agent satisfaction
- Why customer care experience is at the center of customer satisfaction
Customer Care Tools
CRM systems have become very popular in recent years as companies continue to seek greater connections to their customers. An effective CRM platform, like the HubSpot CRM, uses communication tools to align your customer-facing resources including customer service, marketing, and sales teams. These modern CRMs go beyond simply storing customer information and are designed to be interactive.
Three key features to look for in a CRM:
- Create templates for canned responses to common questions
- In-depth reporting for tracking customer service metrics
- Visual dashboard for viewing your entire sales pipeline
Cost: Free - $3,200/mo
Collecting customer feedback through a variety of channels is important, as you never know how an individual customer prefers to share their thoughts. A survey platform, such as SurveyMonkey, is an effective way to create surveys and polls for your customers on a variety of platforms such as email, mobile chat, and social media. Having a flexible solution for managing surveys gives you the ability to request feedback at any time.
Three key features to look for in customer survey software:
- Easily create surveys, quizzes and polls for any audience
- Gather feedback through multiple channels
- Automatically analyze survey results
Cost: $25-75+/month per user
Utilizing a modern help desk software platform can add many new capabilities beyond traditional systems. Our ticketing platform here at SupportBee is a great example of the benefits that new technology can provide. By integrating a shared inbox, knowledge base, and customer portal into a single platform, this software is capable of handling all your customer inquiries and information in a streamlined and interactive interface.
Three key features to look for in help desk support software:
- Organize, prioritize, and collaborate using a shared email inbox
- An integrated knowledge base for empowering customers
- A customer portal for direct customer access to important information
Cost: $13-17/month per user
Once considered a new and unique feature of websites, live chat has become standard on any business website serious about customer care. Zoho offers its SalesIQ platform for live chat with built-in analytics for measuring the effectiveness of your chat interactions. Many customers prefer the quick and easy access that a 24/7 chat service can provide. It’s an important tool to consider for any customer care strategy.
Three key features to look for in live chat customer support:
- Track and engage with visitors to your website
- Use a personalized chat for each visitor interaction
- Utilize automatic chat translation and screen sharing
Cost: Free - $116/month (depending upon number of operators)
Having an online presence and an engaged audience is paramount to succeeding in digital marketing these days. How you manage that community is just as important as building it. Repeat and devoted customers should have an easy way to communicate with your company and with other fans of your brand. An online community software, such as Community Could from Salesforce, can help provide just the right amount of structure for connecting your audience.
Three key features to look for in online community software:
- Customize experiences for each user type
- Integrate data from any sources
- Keep answers organized and accessible for visitors
Cost: $5-35/month per member
Social media management can be a complex challenge when you consider the unique focus and format of each platform. A social media support tool, like the popular Buffer suite, gives you capabilities for creating and publishing content while managing your customer interactions from a single interface. It’s also a great option for teams, as the collaboration features streamline editing and review for individual posts.
Three key features to look for in a social media support tool:
- Plan, review, and publish content from a single platform
- Reply to social conversations from a shared team inbox
- Measure the performance of social media channels with reporting
Customer Care Examples, Training Resources & Tutorials
The Customer Care Institute provides training, certification, and consulting services. They are specialists in customer care and have worked with many high-profile clients such as Chevron, Kellogg’s, and AT&T. Their website offers useful training courses and additional resources for improving the skills and capabilities of your customer care team.
Three key takeaways from Customer Care Institute:
- Training programs and on-site seminars for perfecting customer interactions
- Certification programs for important customer service skills
- Consulting opportunities for hands-on support of customer care initiatives
The customer service training from UK-based KSL is offered as a half-day or full-day interactive program. The experience is tailored to customer service and customer care employees who are interested in developing their communication and customer management skills. Participants in the program will have the opportunity to practice skills and behaviors in facilitated individual and group exercises.
Three key takeaways from KSL Training:
- Adopt a consistent and professional communication style with customers
- Identify ways to exceed customer expectations and add value
- How to turn a disappointing customer experience into a positive one
The team at Management Training Specialists (MTD) has put together this 1-day Customer Care Essentials training course to give customer facing employees a detailed roadmap for creating meaningful customer experience. It is marketed to private, public, and non-profit sectors and has a long list of past clients. In addition, the course is CPD certified, and each participant will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the training.
Three key takeaways from MTD Customer Care Training:
- Best practices for telephone etiquette at call centers
- Helping a non-technical customer to explain their issues
- How to take full ownership of a customer complaint
Sandler is a leader in corporate training programs, and they offer a strategic customer care curriculum for customer service and inside sales professionals. The course includes topics such as effective communication, questioning techniques, and dealing with difficult people. There are also modules related to sales related strategies such as client development and cross-selling techniques.
Three key takeaways from Sandler Training:
- A strategic customer care program for changing behavior
- Training for front-line employees on all aspects of customer communication
- A simple methodology for setting customer expectations during conversations
VanDutch is a luxury yacht building company, and their website gives you a front row seat to effective customer care. They provide a premium product, and you can see the attention to detail in their customer care plans and fully interactive customer care smartphone app. Browsing their website can give you some great ideas for what an effective digital customer care offering looks like.
Three key takeaways from VanDutch Customer Care:
- Video tutorials with helpful information for customers
- Unique care plans tailored to specific types of customers
- A fully functional customer care smartphone app
The Customer Care Training program at Volunteer Relations is led by Marla Benson who brings decades of experience to each session. Prepared as an intensive onsite training, the curriculum focuses on how to build a culture of customer care among your staff. The participants for the session can include customer-facing staff or even your entire team, depending upon your individual goals.
Three key takeaways from Volunteer Relations Training:
- How to use ‘Deep Empathy’ to build customer relationships
- How to provide thoughtful and clear responses to requests
- Managing anger and conflict resolution for long and short-term issues
Work Life Balance is a premier training and educational company that offers both individual and corporate customer service training programs. The organization’s philosophy is to manage work-life balance effectively, and this concept is integrated into each training module. Training for customer service provides important fundamentals for how to respond to customer needs, anticipating future issues, and how to understand the unique needs of each customer.
Three key takeaways from Work Life Balance:
- Understanding your customer’s business needs
- How to prioritize customer projects to balance the urgent and important
- Pre-planning tips to get the most from your time and people