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Angel Customers and Demon Customers: Discover Which is Which and Turbo-Charge Your Stock Hardcover – June 2, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Conventional wisdom holds that the customer is always king (or queen), but not all customers are created equal, write authors Selden (a consultant) and Colvin (a Fortune editor-at-large); in fact, some may be hurting your business (e.g., people who phone customer service lines thousands of times in a single year). So, they argue, it's smart strategy to figure out which customers are most valuable to you, and to lavish your attentions on them. The authors point out a number of companies that are reorganizing how they operate, like Best Buy and Toronto-based Royal Bank. The tone is exceedingly businesslike; sans colorful narratives or rhetorical flourishes, the authors march stiffly through the points they want to make. It's unclear sometimes how behavior should be altered by this philosophy: should you, for example, refuse to do business altogether with unprofitable customers? But the book's central thesis manages that rare mix of being both surprising and eminently reasonable.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Larry Selden is a professor emeritus of finance and economics at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, a prominent consultant, and an adviser to senior executives in many industries.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; First Edition edition (June 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591840074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591840077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruno Levy on February 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a skillfully written, subtile and insightfull book.
I believe that the reviewer who said that "this book stated the obvious and that outside of a novice business student, anyone who finds this book interesting or useful may want to consider another profession than business" has missed the point of this book...completely.
The importance of this book is NOT in stating that "the customer is important .. some more than others". This we all know.
The importance of this book is in outlining a practical methods for ascerting which customers are money making one and which are not money making one **by going at the junction of customer marketing and customer finance**. It is by offering a practical way to relate the two perspectives (the qualitative and the quantitative one) that this book was useful to me.
The key thing I learned from this book is the introduction of detailed customer-finance reasonings to evaluate clients.
I also was greatly inspired by their concept of CUSTOMER DEAVERAGING. I too often see company that thinks in terms of their "average customers" and thereby miss any valuable & actionable insight on how to relate to their customers in a way which is both more profitable and more meaningfull (from both the customers and the client perspective).
Well for company who are like that, I think this is a GREAT book that uncovers what needs to be done in both a practical and theorically sound way.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on October 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
We have all been frustrated in our interactions with companies that are unable to fulfill our needs. Selden's book paints in broad strokes the steps companies can take to transform themselves into truly customer centered organizations. I have found that while many companies claim to be "customer centric," it is actually impossible for them to be so because, as Seldon insightfully explains, they are not organized around customer segments, are unaware of the varying profitability of these segments, and treat customers equally.
This book should serve as a wake up call to senior executives who desire to take their companies to the next level of success. I found it compelling that the companies cited in the book that have undertaken this transformation have been greatly rewarded through increased profitability and above average stock movement.
After reading this book, I believe that executives may perceive such a reorganization to be daunting and require the use of outside consultants. However, Seldon poignantly points out that the immediacy of favorable results on a small scale will make company wide transformation quickly achievable, and produce substantially improved financial returns.
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Format: Hardcover
We should all be aware of unprofitable Customers. Anyone in business should be already aware of the 80/20 rule - that 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers.
This book goes that one step further - by some excellent case studies it shows how 150% of your profits come from 20% of your customers - they are the Angels. The Demons are those 20% of your customers who actually lose you money equal to 150% of your profit.
Its not another book about CRM (Customer Relationship Management), but it is about being Customer-focussed rather than Product-focussed.
I have multiple relationships with Companies who could do with reading this book - including my own employer, with whom I have around 20 Contracts, and yet any one Business Unit only seems to know about 1 or 2 others at best. All those lost selling opportunities - for example they know the ages of my kids from my Travel Insurance Policies, but have never tried to sell me any College Savings Plans!
Read the book and make your Angels happier - and get rid of the Demon ones!
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Format: Hardcover
The central thesis of Selden and Colvin's book is that not all customers are desirable. Some are "angels" who deliver net profit while others are "demons" who cost more to serve than they generate in revenue. A well run company must understand who its customers are and then organize around serving them effectively, securing its relationship with angels while repairing (or ending) its interactions with demons.

The authors write with a simple and bright style that keeps the book interesting. They touch on a number of case studies they've performed in their professional careers to help illustrate their points. I wish that they had included more data in the book, but what they do provide is about right for an introduction to the topic.

Some reviewers deride the content of this book as obvious, but even more obvious is that a tremendous number of businesses don't get it. I see the problems the authors describe play out repeatedly, from perspectives as a professional within my own industry, as an investor, and as a consumer. This book is an exciting rebuttal against the mentality of "The customer is always right" (what if the customer wants to pay less than your cost?) and a wakeup call to move forward from smokestack-age business organization in the information-age economy.
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