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The Service Profit Chain Hardcover – April 10, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

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That the customer should be--indeed, must be--at the heart of any service company's strategy is certainly not a cosmos-altering revelation. But the equations, formulas, research, and just plain common sense that three Harvard Business School professors apply to the process of creating a lifetime customer is definitely worth attention. Much of what they propose is based on a series of Harvard Business Review articles and consulting gigs as well as the tenure of a CEO of Au Bon Pain; in addition, the case histories, though a bit shopworn (including British Airways and WalMart), continue to pound home the high-profit level possible in long-term customer relationships. Marketers may fear the coming of the customer-centric organization, since many processes and functions will be turned upside down in a new kind of reengineering. Employees, however, will rejoice, since the front line is the key to unlocking customer satisfaction. Barbara Jacobs


Herbert D. Kelleher Chairman, President and CEO of Southwest Airlines Co. I am very angry with Jim Heskett, Earl Sasser and Len Schlesinger because I am deathly afraid that our competitors will read their book! The skunks have set forth in an accurate, profound, intelligible, and easily understandable way the core values, tenets, and practices that animate Southwest Airlines and can make any service business successful.

C. William Pollard Chairman, The Servicemaster Company Profit and service do mix. Jim Heskett, Earl Sasser and Len Schlesinger have provided a systematic way for us to understand the link. The examples that the authors draw from their studies and experiences make the book come alive -- it is a real learning experience.

John B. McCoy Chairman and CEO, Banc One Corporation Unveils a great model that managers can use to maximize both customer loyalty and profit. It links an action plan for managing all elements of a business with a thorough process for measuring results.

David H. Maister Author of Managing the Professional Service Firm and True Professionalism If you read only one book on service industry management, this is the one to read -- and to re-read. The simple but powerful framework integrates numerous insights covering a wide range of service industry topics.

Leonard Berry Professor of Marketing and JCPenney Professor of Retailing Studies, Texas A&M University, Author of On Great Service and Marketing Services The authors effectively integrate their wide body of research and thinking into an incisive framework for organizational leadership.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (April 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684832569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684832562
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D. B. Merrifield on October 11, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former student of Heskett's and Sasser's in the early '70's, I have followed their research in the field of service management. As a student and consulting practioner of "high performance service management" for 18 years, I have over 50 books in my library on "service management" with publication dates going back to 1976. This book provides not only a refined summary of all of the best service management theories, but it breaks new ground as far as making a new service order happen within a business.
If you want to truly achieve - distinctive and sustained levels of service, lower total costs, higher everyday margins, and happier, more loyal employees and customers, then this book is for you. It is well written and organized, but it is a process book instead of one with a lot of quick-fix, anecdotal stories that have been unproductively popular for too long. You will have to work intellectually to get through this book, but you will be conceptually re-oriented down the right path towards true competitive advantage.
The book does update and improve on the authors' own research and publishing - notably Heskett's book entitled "Service Breakthroughs" (Free Press, 1990). In the "what's new" department, what I liked best was the third part of the book sub-titled "Putting It All Together". To go from a top-down, financial management company to a bottom-up, service excellence performer takes a total transformation starting with the dated, unspoken core assumptions or beliefs of the CEO. The authors illustrate with case studies that big change is necessary for big gain, but it most often will involve some big pain. They do an excellent job, however, of preparing the would be change artist for the transformational bumps ahead.
D. Bruce Merrifield, Jr [...]
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In "The Service Profit Chain," the author uses extensive case studies and empirical data to demonstrate how successful companies can achieve customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and at the same time, profit and customer growth. Too many companies are focused on the next quarterly earnings release that they don't ever see the lifetime value of their customers. Finally, managers at service industries won't have to keep trading off employee satisfaction in order to achieve customer sastisfaction, and customer satisfaction won't be viewed as a cost factor and a drag on profit growth. Service companies that just don't understand these concepts won't be around for long! As we embark into the e-commerce age, service and technology companies that can quickly apply these concepts within their business models (where there is no direct, face-to-face, contact with the customers) will build a truely competitive advantage. Let's review the successful ecommerce companies in 5 years, and see how many have adopted the principles in "The Service Profit Chain."
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Format: Hardcover
This is the type of book that can change an entire corporate vision. The authors are meticulous in presenting their philosophy, and back every word with carefully researched examples from best practice companies. Unlike many of the "quick read" publications that present a superficial view of service (particularly from a marketing perspective), this book is clearly the result of several years work in the field. Every corporate manager who is serious about customer value management needs to take some time out to study the Service Profit Chain.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RickE on April 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the authors provide a powerful and empirical approach to designing and analyzing a service organization for success. The recommendations are not always intuitive nor easy to implement, but, based on my experience in several industries, I think they are nearly always correct. With a partner, I am starting a own company and have read this book twice very carefully, with lots of notes in the margins, to make sure we do the important things well.
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By Amazon Customer on March 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A must read book if you are working in the service industry. Heskett, Sasser and Schlesinger all from the Harvard Business School, have put together a great book. The service profit chain model at first glance seems simple enough. Make employees happy, who in turn make customers happy, who in turn give you more business and you have a great top and bottom line. Simple? Yes, but the book takes you on a journey, using similar methodology to the balanced score card to show how to design service delivery processes, which targets to target, and most important of all, how to deal with service failures. Numerous other models and their use are depicted. To top it of, there are numerous examples from the airline, hospitality, insurance and other industries. Exec or MBA level readers will really appreciate this book. Jim Kayalar is a certified management consultant and has consulted for tourism development organizations, hotels and resorts. His corporate web site can be found at [...]
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Format: Hardcover
A practical book on important topics to make money through services.
Pertinent examples and well designed links between Employees satisfaction/loyalty, customer satisfaction/loyalti, growth stability, operating strategies: to put it bluntly, results don't come by chance!
A bad point: the Typographical Structure is not good as the contents and a cross topics index would have been welcome.
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