Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit

The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization

 Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit

Authors: Leonardo Inghilleri, Micah Solomon
Pub Date: April 2010
Print Edition: $21.95
Print ISBN: 9780814415382
Page Count: 192
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814415399

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Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The Only Shop in the Marketplace

The best thing you can do for your business right now has nothing to

do with new technology, economies of scale, or first-mover advantage.

It’s something simpler.

It’s something more dependable.

The single best thing you can do for your business is to build true

customer loyalty, one customer at a time.

Everything changes when a customer becomes a loyalist. To the

truly loyal customer, you are the only shop in the marketplace. All the

other brands and all the other vendors don’t even come into focus. Like

someone in love, the loyal customer only has eyes for you.

Few businesses realize how valuable customer loyalty is, and even

fewer know how to achieve it consistently. But a company of any size

can build great wealth and stability through customer loyalty. Businesses

with loyal customers grow faster than others when times are good, and

they have the most breathing room when times are bad.

At its root, creating loyal customers is about taking the time to learn

about your customers individually and then using simple systems to turn

that knowledge into enduring business relationships. In doing so, you

turn your offering into much more than a commodity—you turn it into

a personal relationship.

The primary threat to a business today is the perception by customers

that all you offer is a replaceable, interchangeable commodity. This

hazard stalks your every move: No matter how unbreachable your business’s

advantages may appear right now, whether they are advantages of

technology, geography, or branding, eventually your business model is

going to be knocked off. And, in this era of accelerating change, it will

likely happen sooner than you think.

Escape this threat of commoditization by creating enduring, loyal,

human relationships with customers. It’s the surest way to escape market

obsolescence.

The payoff is huge.

Learning to create loyal customers has made all the difference for

the companies where Leonardo has been involved, including The Ritz-

Carlton, BVLGARI, The Walt Disney Company, and the new hotel

brands—Capella and Solis—that Leonardo heads up with his partners.

The principles that lead to loyal customers will work for you, too.

They’re simple, they’re solid, and they’re replicable. You needn’t work

in a luxury industry to apply them. Far from it.

As you’ll learn, Micah used the principles of loyalty to transform a

tiny manufacturing and entertainment services company he started in a

single room in his basement, with financing that consisted of only a

credit card, into a renowned and high-growth enterprise. His approach

built his company, Oasis, into one of the top players in its field, as well

as attracting attention in the business literature, including case studies in

such places as Success magazine and Seth Godin’s bestseller Purple Cow.

Oasis catapulted to success because customers respond with loyalty

when you treat them according to the principles and methods we will

describe.

Since then, Leonardo and Micah have been able to lend their

loyalty-based methodology to a great diversity of industries: from white

shoe law firms to restaurants to banks to organic flower farms; from

tour operators to independent music labels to convention centers to

hospitals. Loyalty pays off—measurably—for all of them.

The reward for using these principles isn’t only financial. As you

begin building customer loyalty, your pride in your profession, your

integrity, and your ability to build positive relationships (at work, and

even in your own home) will also bloom. This happens naturally, because

the process of earning loyalty involves caring about your customers,

respecting them, and thinking constantly about their needs.

Spending this time being deeply attentive will tone your personality.

Building customer loyalty will require your hard work and

thoughtfulness, but it is a refreshingly straightforward process. While

so many aspects of business are out of your control—exchange rates,

international tension, technological changes—the single most important

process, creating loyal customers, obeys predictable, stable rules that can

be mastered and then applied successfully for a lifetime.

We’re pleased to help show the way.

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