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Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Quality Insider

Books: Take Their Breath Away

How imaginative service creates devoted customers

Published: Friday, June 12, 2009 - 11:47


uestion: What’s the difference between a satisfied customer and a devoted follower?

Answer: Seventy-five percent of satisfied customers abandon a company for its competitor. A devoted follower is a customer who takes your brand to heart. Authors Chip Bell and John Patterson give you the keys to customers’ hearts in their new book, Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

The authors point out that management expert and best-selling author Tom Peters once said,“Customers perceive service in their own idiosyncratic, emotional, irrational, end-of-the-day and totally human terms. Perception is all there is.” Understanding that perception and how to meet those sometimes irrational expectations is the goal of the book.

Learn the 12 Take-Their-Breath-Away Strategies derived from Bell’s and Patterson’s combined 50-years experience as customer loyalty experts. Each strategy is thoroughly presented in its own chapter with common sense tips and practical processes for implementation. A competitive analysis of the strategies is very helpful in choosing the one that fits the service level you plan to pursue. It shows how various strategies serve a particular function, and gives the purpose of each strategy and when to use it. As the authors explain, these strategies didn’t come from customer surveys or feedback buttons on web sites;  they evolved from listening to and observing customers and then coming up with innovate ways to give them what they need... sometimes before they even knew they needed it.

Take Their Breath Away is spangled with real examples of companies delighting their customers with unusual, ingenious service. The most common characteristic of their service is that it is imaginative, unexpected, and provides a pleasant surprise. 

A devoted follower is born when that customer recognizes that the surprising service was no accident, that it was planned and crafted on purpose, that is was handmade for them, and therefore, could be done again. Who wouldn’t come back for more?


About The Author

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest’s picture

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Laurel Thoennes is an editor at Quality Digest. She has worked in the media industry for 33 years at newspapers, magazines, and UC Davis—the past 25 years with Quality Digest.