- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (January 16, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385518323
- ISBN-13: 978-0385518321
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Exceeding Customer Expectations: What Enterprise, America's #1 car rental company, can teach you about creating lifetime customers Hardcover – January 16, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
This love letter to Enterprise Rent-A-Car is also a comprehensive case study on how a company grows from an idea into a multibillion-dollar corporation within its founder's lifetime. But just as the company's first "We Pick You Up" commercial was aimed at both company insiders and consumers, this book has the feel of an internal communication on the company's 50th anniversary. Despite excessive enthusiasm and a somewhat repetitive writing style, Kazanjian (The Market Masters, etc.) does offer insight into how a company can succeed by remaining focused on motivating employees to satisfy customers completely. Drawing on examples from Enterprise's history, he emphasizes that focusing on customer satisfaction must permeate every aspect of operations. While Kazanjian's themes are not revolutionary, he convinces that helping employees improve service to customers attracts more customers, so the company and its profit-sharing employees prosper. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Advance acclaim for Exceeding Customer Expectations:
“Classy people create classy companies, and there is no more classy—or successful—company than Enterprise Rent-A-Car.”
—Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
“I loved this book and learned from it as well. It’s essential reading for every business manager and a powerful example that if you create value for your customers, your business will flourish and all your stakeholders will benefit.”
—Anne Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation
“In a world where management styles come and go, the Enterprise philosophy remains timeless. Exceeding Customer Expectations is a firsthand look at the company that has been writing the book on customer service for the last 50 years.”
—Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express
“Exceeding Customer Expectations provides an entertaining and insightful look into the customer-centered culture and strategies that drive the continuing success of a remarkable business.”
—J.D. Power IV, Executive Vice President, J.D. Power and Associates, co-author Satisfaction: How Every Great Company Listens to the Voice of the Customer
“Want to learn how to grow your business into an economic juggernaut by moving beyond customer satisfaction—all the way to loyalty? Then read this book because there is no better case study than Enterprise Rent-A-Car.”
—Fred Reichheld, author, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth
Top customer reviews
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At every turn, Enterprise emerges as the leader, the innovator, the business where everything turns to gold! When talking about the succession plan from Jack to Andy Taylor, Andy is presented as the humble genius who has the vision that dad did not, while wise dad looks on with fatherly pride as his son and family members 'of course' think that running a family business 'is best' because after all, Enterprise Knows Best!
By the 3rd CD, I kept listening just to hear how amazing everyone could Enterprise could be! IT Systems? Deployed in a single bound. Partnerships with insurers? Progressive L O V E loves Enterprise, so much so that the CEO appears 'unscripted' in a "Thank You" commercial sent to Enterprise employees. Enterprise is so smart that they 'know' that if they reduce the number of days that their insurance customers are in a car (thus reducing immediate revenue to Enterprise), it will save the insurer money, which will result in more love for Enterprise among claims adjusters - truly a 'Win Win!' Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah.
When by the 4th CD, they admit some 'mistakes' the examples truly aren't mistakes because they recognize the challenges so fast that the mistakes barely appear as blips on their balance sheet.
As a claims adjuster who started in the insurance business in 1984, I am interested in the subject - insurance replacement vehicles. But I know from experience as an Enterprise customer that the genius and seamless technology touted only partly works. I've made reservations on the ARMS automated rental system, then called the office to talk about the order that I placed on ARMS. The local offices have told me that they don't know how to use ARMS, so they can't answer my question about how ARMS works. Or, if I assign a car at insurance rates, the local office will still try to sell supplemental insurance and ad ons even though the local office knows that it isn't part of my company's profile.
While the book makes it sound like the Enterprise field offices are entrepreneurial fields of dreams, they are sometimes run down and scuff walled lonely outposts in the backs of car dealerships and body shops. The book says that Enterprise doesn't want to spend much money on offices because customers won't be there long. This is balanced by the awesome customer service, and the free soda offered on a hot day. I've never been offered a free soda at an Enterprise office.
As to the culture, from speaking with former Enterprisers, after a while, the go go go atmosphere becomes too much. If you are not 25-30, young and willing to party it up, you won't keep up with the culture. I also get the impression that the work hours are very tough - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at a job where you are running all day to move cars.
All that being said, Enterprise is the only car rental company that I refer as a claims adjuster. They get the job done, know the claims process, and have plenty of locations. I can confidently refer a claimant to Enterprise and know that the process will go smoothly enough, and Enterprise will be helpful to me and the claimant.
This book was written in 2007. Listening to the book in 2009, after the bank meltdowns and stock market flop, it's hard to be this enthusiastic about the wizards of car rental that founders of Enterprise are made out to be. This business book has some solid customer service ideas, many which are in practice at the $4B/year company I work for, but I would have liked a little less candy coating ala Mr. Sklar's reading of the material.
Others might view this book just as the title opines, an instructional treatise on customer service. They too would be correct, but only to a certain degree. I say that because I found the book to be more of a business model. In fact, I would say this book is broken down thusly; 50% business model, 30% Enterprise company history and 20% customer service. Therefore, my only big knock on this book is the title, which leads the reader to believe customer service is the primary focus here. It is not. That is not to say, however, that readers will not glean valuable information on customer service, just not as much as this reader would have liked.
The book reads well and Kazanjian is to be commended for his work, but I do not believe the story paints quite the intended picture. I found in large part, the Enterprise Company bumbled its way into prosperity because a few headstrong employees refused to follow company policy! A good example is the Enterprise "we'll pick you up" mantra. I won't give too much of the book away, but this and other business innovations within the company happened by chance. Please do not mistake this as ridicule of the company. Enterprise is certainly a gem in today's marketplace, just understand that according to this book, much of the company's success wasn't planned that way. Perhaps that in and of itself is what has made them successful; their ability to adapt.
I would like to make one other observation about the title of the book. My fear is that many will miss out on this book because of the title. This is an excellent resource for constructing a business model and is, at best, a mediocre source on customer service. If you are on a quest for knowledge on "exceeding customer expectations" you will likely be disappointed here as there are certainly more informative volumes available.