Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets Of Building A Five-Star Customer Service Organization By Leonardo Inghilleri, Micah Solomon

Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization

Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization
By Leonardo Inghilleri, Micah Solomon

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Product Description

"Filled with treasure and big ideas, this book will help you become exceptional." - SETH GODIN

In a tight market, your most powerful growth engine and your best protection from competitive inroads is this: put every thing you can into cultivating true customer loyalty. Loyal customers are less sensitive to price competition, more forgiving of small glitches, and, ultimately, become "walking billboards" who will happily promote your brand. In Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit insiders Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon reveal the secrets of providing online and offline customer service so superior it nearly guarantees loyalty. Their anticipatory customer service approach was first developed at The Ritz-Carlton as well as at Solomon's entertainment and technology company Oasis, and has since proven itself in countless companies around the globe from luxury giant BVLGARI to value-sensitive auto parts leader Carquest, and everywhere in between. Now, readers can take the techniques that minted money for these brands and apply them directly to their own businesses. As Ken Blanchard writes, "Leonardo and Micah's philosophies, rules, and winning examples of service excellence will make you want to implement their suggestions immediately in your own organization." Filled with detailed, behind-the-scenes examples, the book unlocks a new level of customer relationship that leaves your competitors in the dust, your customers coming back day after day, and your bottom line looking better than it ever has before.

Honors received:
* A Jack Covert Selection
* CEO Refresher Top Ten Best Business Book of the Year
* 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year Awards Shortlist winner
* Philadelphia Bulletin "Must Read" business book
* Book of the Month, Las Vegas Women's REALTOR®
* DearReader.com Business Book Club Selection
* Shanghai Daily Press #1 U.S. Business Book

If you want to deliver a superior client experience, then have every employee read this book.  That's what we've done.  This volume is simply that profound, that good." Jim S. Miller, President, Prime Performance
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #34876 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-07
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .90" h x 6.20" w x 9.10" l, .95 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 170 pages


  • ISBN13: 9780814415382
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Tracking provided on most orders. Buy with Confidence! Millions of books sold!
Editorial Reviews

"A must-read for anyone interested in transforming their interactions with clients - a manual for winning customer loyalty that actually inspires." Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

"Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit is a book after my own heart. This is the way to run a customer-focused company!" Ken Blanchard, coauthor The One Minute Manager®
--Ken Blanchard

"What you read here will allow you to recalibrate your business--on any scale--to truly know your customers and keep them coming back for more." Horst Schulze, Founding President and COO, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
--Horst H. Schulze

 'Aha'-type examples... Inghilleri and Solomon draw on their experiences with blue-chip service companies [to show how] companies must deliver "anticipatory" service. Inc. Magazine review by Editor Leigh Buchanan

"A wonderful, practical book that explores the interactions that build customer loyalty. Required reading for anyone [building] a new company and for seasoned business leaders." Prof. Frank A. Philpot, George Mason U. School of Management

A Jack Covert Selects

"...offering fundamental truths that aren't just trendsetting tips, but timeless points to learn from again and again…" — 800ceoread.com

"…highly recommend the essential and must read book to anyone serious about creating the very best in customer experiences in their organization." -- BlogBusinessWorld

"No matter how good you think you are doing it right now, you owe it to yourself to read this book...will challenge the norms you have accepted for customer service." -- allbusinessanswers.com

"…serves well as a primer for the new manager in a service-based industry, whether it is retail, hospitality or sales."--Houston Business Journal

"Great advice from some world class companies….pages contain golden nuggets for companies big and small…a must read. Highly recommended." -- SBC Fulfillment.com

One of CEO Refresher.com's The Best Business Books of The Year

"Unlike many business books, it is one part theory and two parts application. Its straightforward manner, practical examples and ready-to-use suggestions make it an invaluable resource for any company."— Business Lexington

"From manifesting the customer's expectations and recovering from negative customer feedback to selecting and training your staff, the organized book makes for an easy and essential managerial read."—The Debroff Debrief

"If creating legendary customer service is important to your business, this book provides some fascinating insights."—National Post

"A new guru of customer service excellence is Micah Solomon."-- Financial Post.com

"...gem of a book...If you want to deliver a superior client experience, then have every employee read this book…volume is simply that profound, that good."—PrimePerformance.com

"…offers lessons that are immediately applicable to any business, and can help you both attract and retain clients.—Accounting Today

From the Author
Author interview with Micah Solomon by Blog Business World. (Interviewer: Wayne Hulbert)Micah Solomon, President of Oasis Disc Manufacturing, founder, College of the Customer website, co-author with Leonardo Inghilleri of the highly practical and transformational book Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about the book.

What was the background to writing this book? 

Micah Solomon:
Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit has an interesting genesis: In part, it is a distillation of the ideas that have led to the growth of my own business, Oasis Disc Manufacturing from its start in a room in my basement to its current status as a leader in its sector of the entertainment industry. This growth has been possible because I created systems that allow customers to retain a personal, human experience at our company in spite of the rate at which our company has scaled.

And, I was extremely fortunate to team up with someone I've always wanted to work with: Leonardo Inghilleri, an instrumental force in creating similar systems in a different context at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, The Walt Disney Company, and now The West Paces Hotel Company. Leonardo and looked at the parallels in our systems and extracted a single comprehensive strategy for our readers. We wanted to wind up with a single set of technologies, principles, and strategies that could leverage shoestring budget businesses and much larger ones equally well.

Your book is about creating exceptional customer service. Why do so many otherwise astute companies fail so badly at providing great customer service?
Micah Solomon: Providing exceptional service requires an intensive overall organizational commitment day in and day out, plus much specific knowledge. There are many processes involved: appropriate hiring, worker involvement in job design, etc., which companies need to do more than pay lip service to. Furthermore, service is a curious combination of an entirely subjective area (nobody can define "exceptional service" except for the customer) and entirely data driven (there's no point learning how to apologize empathically for service breakdowns without also spending the time on data notation and analysis to determine the patterns of where those service breakdowns are occurring so you can fix the broken processes that are leading to the need to apologize).

What elements form the basis for an exceptional customer service program so it is carried out effectively?

a) First ensure you are providing a baseline of satisfactory customer service, which consists of four elements: 1. A product/service which is designed to function perfectly under any reasonably foreseeable circumstances. 2. A caring, friendly person to deliver this product/service. 3. Timeliness. Plus,(because things do go wrong), 4.An effective problem resolution program.

b) To bring customers to the level of true loyalty (which is where you build strategic value for your company--by binding customers to you, rather than merely satisfying them), you need to add the element of anticipatory customer service: knowing what a customer wants even a moment before she asks for it or even knows she wants it herself.

You do this several ways: by carefully tracking preferences you have noted or have been volunteered earlier by this particular customer, by having your own employees and other knowledgeable people use your own product/services to such an extent that you know exactly how customers in your target group would like them to function, by hiring people who are extremely appropriate for the job - empathetic, intuitive, warm, etc., and by training, orienting, and reinforcing your staff to be extraordinary in key people-related skills.

Why do so many companies use the wrong words and language when speaking to a customer?

Micah Solomon: Almost certainly they aren't thinking about this issue -- their choice of words -- at all. We recommend in Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit that you create a specific "Language Bible" or "Lexicon" of words that are appropriate for your business, and ensure that everyone sticks to the program.

Very often, executives remark that that customer service and its results are impossible to track. Is there a way to create and utilize effective and accurate metrics to measure customer service results?
Micah Solomon: The first thing a company should do to counter this mindset is calculate the lifetime value of a customer. In companies we have worked with, the value of a customer can be up to a million dollars. Maybe it's $100,000 in a particular company, or $10,000, or even $10,000,000, but in almost every case it tends to be more than anyone at the company realizes before the calculation is done.

Second, multiply that number by the potential internet value--positive (if the customer becomes what Seth Godin calls a "sneezer" who spreads word of your great problem resolution) or negative (if the customer does a PowerPoint of your suckworthiness). Now, tell me: at this point are you seriously going to instruct your front-line workers to take a hard line and argue with customers regarding an overnight shipping bill?

As far as measuring the effectiveness of your day to day customer service results, it is important to have the numbers that are critical to your company in front of you--what could be called a "three dimensional dashboard." Not just cash flow and other similar numbers, but other indicators, such as employee engagement, problem resolution success, and customer loyalty. (Are you losing or gaining in the number of customers willing to refer your business and who are planning to use your business again?)

These ''softer'' indicators can be derived from your preferred tracking tools--your short-form customer ''quizzes,'' full-length customer surveys, secret shopper reports, and employee-filed reports, as well as data gathered on employee engagement by your managers and HR leaders.

With so much business taking place over the internet, is there an effective way to develop exceptional customer service online?
Micah Solomon: One way to distinguish your company online is to offer customers an opportunity to connect with a real person online, just as you would offline or on the telephone. For example, instead of a web-based chat window that blandly announces "you are now chatting with Jane," try "you are now chatting with Jane Chang-Katzenberg." The customers will treat your "Jane" better, they'll take her advice more seriously -- and they'll be more likely to want a committed customer relationship with her company.

What are critical moments in a business/customer relationship when it's absolutely crucial to provide exceptional customer service?
Micah Solomon: In addition to recovering from service failures (a very crucial moment), research shows that customers remember the first and last minutes of a service encounter much more vividly -- and for much longer -- than all the rest of it. If you can really nail your hellos and good-byes, in other words, you'll get extra credit with your customers and a halo effect over how they remember your entire interaction.

What is next for Micah?
Micah Solomon: In addition to taking care of my "baby," Oasis Disc Manufacturing, I'm enjoying spending more time speaking to organizations on improving customer service and the customer experience: mostly in the corporate world but also unique nonprofits like Operation Smile and Brown University.

From the Inside Flap
What if you could protect your business against competitive inroads--once and for all? And what if you could build unprecedented strategic and financial value for your business--through good times and bad? You'll be able to do precisely this, explain acclaimed entrepreneurs Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon, once you learn the closely held secrets of customer loyalty.

In Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit, this team of insiders shares its exclusive knowledge of the loyalty-building techniques pioneered by the world's most successful service leaders, including brick-and-mortar stars such as The Ritz-Carlton and Lexus and online success stories such as Netflix and CD Baby. They then lay out, step by step, the details of how to apply these secrets to your company, whatever its size or specialty--or price point.

"Few businesses realize how valuable customer loyalty is," the authors explain. "Many aspects of business are out of your control, but the single most important process--creating loyal customers --obeys predictable, stable rules that need to be mastered only once. Then the rules can be applied successfully for a lifetime."

Unique to this volume, Inghilleri and Solomon focus on battle-tested techniques that are immediately applicable in any business context. Founding President of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Horst Schulze, explains the value of Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit as follows: "What you read here will allow you to recalibrate your business--on any scale--in order to truly know your customers and keep them coming back for more."

Here are five examples drawn from the wide range of practical techniques that the authors will teach you--techniques which you can use to create unri­valed customer loyalty in your own business context:

* How to select, train, and inspire "loyalty virtuosos" at all organizational levels.
* How to handle a service breakdown in a systematic way that actually leaves your customer more loyal than if the mishap hadn't happened in the first place.
* How to gather and use data on customer preferences in a meaningful, practical, profitable way.
* How to ensure that you meet your customers' 21st century expectations for timeliness and quality.
* How to truly personalize the experience of your online customers--on every page of your website, and in every step of their e-commerce encounters.

LEONARDO INGHILLERI (Roswell, GA) is Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of West Paces Consulting. A recognized expert on service, Inghilleri created The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center and Learning Institute and has played an instrumental role at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, BVLGARI, and The Walt Disney Company, among and other renowned brands.

MICAH SOLOMON, a successful entrepreneur and business leader, is a top keynote speaker and consultant on customer service, sales, and marketing issues, the customer experience, and company culture for our digitally connected times. He co-authored the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit and his expertise has been featured in Fast Company, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Inc. Magazine, Forbes.com, NBC and ABC television programming, and elsewhere: "The new guru of customer service excellence is Micah Solomon."-- The Financial Post

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful.
5Live introduction to the customer principles of this book from Micah Solomon (co-author)
Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1AY2PV6PW2OGB Author and customer service speaker Micah Solomon's keynote speech to the NCBS Retail Banking Conference at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas (8 minute excerpt): This Customer Service Keynote is an introduction to the principles inExceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization's principles. (8 minute excerpt)

This keynote speech was filmed in front of an audience of bankers at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas in June 2011.

{More live speaking excerpts and info available at customerserviceguru DOT com}

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
5This book got me quickly thinking about how to make customers more loyal - the key provide anticipatory service!
By Blaine Greenfield
When I saw EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE, EXCEPTIONAL PROFIT (AMACOM) by Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon, I thought to myself, "Oh, no, still another book on customer service." Even the subtitle. THE SECRETS OF BUILDING A FIVE-STAR CUSTOMER SERVICE ORGANIZATION, indicated that might be the case.

But was I ever wrong! The authors immediately got me interested in finding out more through their use of success stories from such companies as The Ritz-Carlton and Lexus, as well as how the principles were applied by such online firms as Netflix and CD Baby.

In addition, they quickly got me thinking about how to make customers more loyal--with one key way being the need to provide anticipatory service vs. merely reacting to customers.

Some of their examples, though seemingly basic, blew me away--such as this one:
*To help launch their Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel brand, initially, founding President and Chief Operating Officer Horst Schulze and his team decided on a set of ideal phrases for use in conversation with customers, then trained employees to use those phrases. The frequent use of certain phrases helped unify their employees around a shared identity and contributed to a distinctive "Ritz style" that the public could easily recognize: phrases like "my pleasure," "Right away," "Certainly," and -a personal favorite-"We're fully committed tonight." (Translation: "We're booked solid, bub!" The list of words and phrases to be avoided included folks, hey, you guys, and okay.

I also loved this technique for how to preemptively unwad your staff's shorts:
* When your own employees first hear you taking the customer's side, don't expect them to be thrilled. ("Does my boss blame me? Does she actually believe that idiot's version of what happened?") You need to explain that it's often necessary to empathize with and even amplify the customer's side of the story. Explain that the customer may or may not be right in an objective sense. Regardless, you're going to be disproportionately sympathetic to the customer's viewpoint because the customer is your boss-the customer pays your paycheck, along with the paychecks of everyone in the company.

Human nature being what it is, this explanation will bear repeating. Often.

Lastly, I often wonder why more companies don't utilize this technique:
* Even in a mundane situation, this simple understanding, starting from day one, can make all the difference. Have you ever been to a shopping mall and stared, obviously bewildered at the map-while a security guard idly stands there "protecting" you, all of two feet away? Did the security guard proactively help you out with an "Anything I can help you find?" If he worked for us, he would have. At orientation, we would have started him off understanding his higher purpose: to create a great shopping experience for guests. Sure, that could include deterring and apprehending bad guys, but it also includes attending to shoppers who have that unmistakable lost look on their faces.

Even as I type the above, I realize that EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE, EXCEPTIONAL PROFIT is a book that I'm going to want to revisit. If you read it, you'll become as convinced as I am that Ingehilleri and Solomon have ideas that can be applied to virtually any company or organization--including yours.

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
5Top-notch customer service manual
By Rolf Dobelli
What Apple is to innovation and Rolex is to quality Ritz-Carlton is to service. Consider the luxury hotel chain's famous $2,000 customer-satisfaction pledge. This remarkable program, now in place for decades, allows any Ritz-Carlton employee, regardless of rank, to decide alone to spend up to $2,000 to resolve any customer problem. To date, no Ritz-Carlton employee has felt it necessary to spend the full amount on behalf of a customer, but many take creative action to address problems promptly. This policy sends a powerful signal to Ritz-Carlton clients and employees about how much the company values quality and service. In their book, service experts Micah Solomon and Leonardo Inghilleri teach you how to plan and implement an exceptional service program. getAbstract cheers this nicely written book. It is a pleasure to read and it explains exceptional service clearly.


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