Customer Centered Growth: Five Proven Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage

Customer Centered Growth: Five Proven Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage

Customer Centered Growth: Five Proven Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage

Customer Centered Growth: Five Proven Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage

Synopsis

The "Business Week" bestseller that "provides significant strategies for those hoping to 'jump-start' their customer-driven companies".--Dr. Steven Covey.

Excerpt


THE CHALLENGE: TURNING TURMOIL INTO CUSTOMER-CENTERED GROWTH

ON A WEDNESDAY MORNING in the winter of 1991, readers of the Boston Herald were treated to a picture of Steve DiFillippo, normally an agreeable fellow, carving up his American Express card with a butcher knife.

The picture and accompanying front-page article marked the beginning of a business rebellion. A reporter had overheard DiFillippo, the owner of three Boston-area restaurants, complaining bitterly about the high rates he had to pay American Express each time a diner used the much ballyhooed plastic to pay for a meal. The Herald's story, in which DiFillippo and other businesspeople said they found American Express both arrogant and inflexible, struck a nerve. Soon scores of other merchants in and around Boston were joining the revolt, threatening to refuse American Express cards.

Although it had been under attack for several years from Visa, which offered much lower merchant rates, American Express at the time seemed to be sailing serenely along. After all, according to Fortune magazine, American Express was one of the "most admired financial services institutions in the world."

But stung by defections, its stock slipping, with the buzz engendered by what would come to be known as the Boston Fee Party spreading far and wide, American Express finally decided it was, indeed, in trouble, and that it could not just wait out the storm. American Express Establishment Services, the division responsible for getting and keeping merchant relationships, went into action, its goal to address the negative perceptions it had previously ignored. And not only to woo back those merchants who had left, but to sign up thousands more.

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