In the “Local Girl Makes Good” category, consultant and author Barbara Burke recently scored a deal with John Wiley & Sons for her book, “The Napkin, the Melon, and the Monkey: A Customer-Service Fable”. The photo at left is from a recent celebration thrown by friends at which Barbara favored all with a reading.
I’ve often joked that Northfield has a split personality when it comes to consultants – we’ll hire anyone as long as they’re not from around here, often overlooking the nationally-recognized talents of people who just happen to call this place home. (Prophets without honor in their own country, etc.) Not that Northfield needs any customer-service advice, oh, no. Especially not with the ENORMOUS banner in the Council chambers which trumpets, “Striving for excellence, committed to service”. I guess it’s enough to just make declarative statements.
But back to Barbara. In her book proposal, Barbara said,
Imagine what it’s like to work in a job in which you take 100+ phone calls every day from frustrated, disgruntled customers who blame you for their problems. Imagine what it’s like to have a random sample of those calls monitored and evaluated to determine whether you exhibited all 28 required behaviors and handled every call in under 268 seconds.
That is what life is like for the 3,000,000+ customer service representatives who work in North American call centers—and the millions more who staff them elsewhere. It’s no surprise that these employees suffer from chronic, stress-induced health problems—or that call centers are plagued by high rates of absenteeism, low productivity, and high employee turnover.
Barbara has been consulting for more than 20 years and has developed a loyal following for her proven techniques and demonstrated success. Her impressive client list includes Microsoft, Honeywell, and the State of Minnesota; and Barbara is a good example of how to make effective use of the Web for marketing and communication with clients (check out the links).
Congratulations, Barbara, and please be sure your book bio clearly states that you hail from NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA.