Customer service is the single most pressing problem for business managers and people in any service or sales operation, especially at the retail level. In fact, many experts believe that you build a business from the customer up. In Customer Mania!, Ken Blanchard, one of America's biggest bestselling authors and inspiring business leaders, writes of the key to customer service -- creating a people-oriented, performance-driven, customer-first organization. Along with coauthors Jim Ballard and Fred Finch, Blanchard explains why the customer is the right starting place from which to build a successful business. By drawing on examples from the world's largest restaurant company, Yum! -- owner of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's, and A&W Restaurants -- the authors explain how any company, large or small, can develop a unified, people-first, customer-oriented culture. Packed with practical insights, Customer Mania! emphasizes four critical steps:
Set Your Sights on the Right Target. The bottom line grows from taking care of customers and creating a motivating environment for your people.
Treat Customers the Right Way. Determine the kind of experience you want your customers to have as they interact with every part of the company.
Treat Employees the Right Way. Use strategies ranging from smart hiring to training and development to managing performance and creating a recognition culture.
Build the Right Kind of Leadership. You can't do it all yourself, so let your people put their own brains to work and then support them all the way.
By relying on these concepts, businesses everywhere can cultivate passionate and engaged team members who contribute to the company's overall success. From CEO to middle manager to the person facing the consumer, Customer Mania! is a vital tool for enhancing their experience -- and their customer's.
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November 14, 2004
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Excerpt from Customer Mania! by Kenneth Blanchard
I have the greatest job in the world. I travel hither and yon, observing how organizations behave. I'm always looking for companies that are trying to build themselves the right way -- by focusing on their customers and creating people-first, performance-based cultures.
Why is customer focus so important Because whether you're selling pizzas or professional services, your business is not about you. It's about the people you serve. I say I'm always looking for companies that are trying to do it right because building a company the right way is a continuous journey. There is no final destination. When I find an organization on this journey, I am excited.
Four years ago I was asked to speak about customer service to an annual meeting of KFC (originally Kentucky Fried Chicken). At that conference I met David Novak, who at the time was president of Tricon -- the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. During that meeting, David told me about the journey he and his folks were on to revitalize a lackluster balance sheet by becoming a customer-centric organization. David knew that his company, like most companies, had already been giving lip service to focusing on the customer.
A Gigantic Do-Over
In golf if you hit a bad shot and say, "I'll take a mulligan," you get to hit again. David Novak uses a similar phrase to depict what his company is up to. He said, "When my daughter, Ashley, was younger and she and her friends made a mistake in their games, they would say, 'I get a do-over.' That's what Yum! is -- a gigantic do-over."
A Common Sense Strategy
As they rebuild their company the right way into a customer-focused enterprise, David Novak and his people are trying to make common sense be common practice. Common sense says that if you consistently treat those who serve customers as if they're the most important people in the company, they will treat customers as if they're the most important people in the world. If a company's people are treated as winners and see themselves as winners, customer satisfaction and profitability come naturally.