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Recommended Reading List

Readers are Leaders!

Every support center professional should read books as a process of continual self-education.  Kristin has written about the benefits of reading, and how to set up a reading program in your support center.  You can read her article here. The following books are available through Amazon.com or the Help Desk Institute bookstore, as noted.

Required Reading for the Support Center Manager:

I recommend the following books during all the support center management classes I teach.  This list gives you a well-rounded education in business management, customer service and support center structure.  They are in no particular order.

Bob Rosner, Allan Halcrow, Alan Levins, The Boss’s Survival Guide, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

This is a handy guide for managerial situations such as managing performance, discipline and termination.  Easy to read.


Tim Sanders, Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends, New York: Crown Business, 2002.

This is an amazing book that talks about love in business, from an executive at Yahoo.  This book taught me how to read other books – Tim has a method for annotating books that makes it easy to remember what you read.


Bob Nelson, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, New York: Workman Publishing, 1994.

The classic book on how to recognize employees without spending a pile of money.


Frederick F. Reichheld, The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value, Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 1996.

Another classic on the increased profitability of companies who retain customers. Note especially the graphs and charts that support this theory. Satisfied and loyal customers are good for the bottom line.


Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

Told as a tale, this book is easy reading for anyone who functions within a team. That would be any support center manager…


Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton, Now, Discover your Strengths, New York: Free Press, 2001.

Buckingham de-bunks the idea that we should concentrate on our weaknesses in order to improve either our own performance or that of a team.  Instead, we should build on our strengths.  Includes a code that entitles you to an online StrengthsFinder assessment.


David L. Cooperrider, Diana Whitney, Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2005.

Along with Now, Discover your Strengths, this book gives you the technique for facilitating organizational change while building on the strengths and successes of the team.


Ferdinand F. Fournies, Coaching for Improved Work Performance, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.

This is an excellent guide on how to coach employees.  Look for his coaching analysis that tells you how to discover what is causing unsatisfactory performance.


Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, New York: Berkley Book, 2002.

One of the best books I’ve read on how to communicate with others, including employees, spouse, friends and children. I appreciated her seven step process for confronting employees.


Janelle Barlow, Claus Moller, A Complaint is a Gift: Using Customer Feedback as a Strategic Tool, San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996.

Another classic on the value of gathering, listening to and acting on complaints from customers.


Customer Service:

Hal F. Rosenbluth, Diane McFerrin Peters, The Customer Comes Second and Other Secrets of Exceptional Service, New York: Quill, 1994

The title says it all – how you treat employees will be reflected in how employees treat customers.


Peters and Waterman, In Search of Excellence, New York: Harper & Rows, Publishers, Inc., 1982

Revolutionary when it was first published, In Search of Excellence still resonates today.


Jeffrey Gitomer, Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know, New York: Bard Press, 1998

Jeffrey can be irreverent and opinionated, but he communicates with passion.  A fun read.


Kristin Anderson, Ron Zemke, Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service, New York: AMACOM, 1997.

Great basic customer service skills reference.


Frederick F. Reichheld, Loyalty Rules! How Today’s Leaders Build Lasting Relationships, Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 2001.

The sequel to The Loyalty Effect, this is more of a good thing regarding the importance of satisfied, loyal customers.


Leonard L. Berry, Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success, New York, Free Press, 1999.

Dr. Berry identifies the importance of service in business today.


Help Desk/Technical Support:

Phil Verghis, The Ultimate Customer Support Executive: Unleash the Power of Your Customer, New Jersey: Summit Press, 2006

A good strategic overview of the organizational importance of customer support.


Dr. Frederick C. Van Bennekom, Customer Surveying: A Guidebook for Service Managers, Bolton, MA: Customer Service Press, 2002

A must-read for customer surveying basics.


Francoise Tourniaire, Richard Farrell, The Art of Software Support, New Jersey: Prentice Hall PTR, 1998


Mary Lenz, The Complete Help Desk Guide, New York: Flatiron Publishing: 1996


Ron Muns, The Help Desk Handbook, Colorado Springs: Help Desk Institute;1993


Barbara Czegel, Running an Effective Help Desk, New York: John Wiley & Sons: 1009