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The Service Profit Chain Hardcover – April 10, 1997
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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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org [...]