Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Service, Training Detailed in 'Managing to Keep the Customer'

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Service, Training Detailed in 'Managing to Keep the Customer'

Article excerpt

"Managing to Keep the Customer." Robert L. Desatnick. Jossey-Bass Publishers. 163 Pages. Hardback.

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Fort Worth to help celebrate the occasion of my younger brother receiving his master's degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Our group, which included five families, made reservations at a well-known motel, expecting a comfortable, worry-free weekend.

Things went fairly well for two days before the final night of our stay, when the motel suddenly was inundated by a loud, ill-mannered and crude group of high school students who had reserved several rooms for their after-prom party.

Needless to say, the final evening was a horror. Profanity, people running up and down the hallways, and the sound of beer cans hitting the floor made it next to impossible to sleep.

Rightfully, the motel did not charge us for that final night's "accomodation," especially after we refused to pay for it. And, it's safe to say that none of us will ever stay there again.

That night is just one example of many incidents which hurt a business, both at the moment and in the future with lost revenue resulting from dissatisfied customers not returning.

In his book, "Managing to Keep the Customer," or "How to Achieve and Maintain Superior Customer Service Throughout the Organization," Robert Desatnick describes key strategies which have been used by such companies as McDonald's and Citicorp to achieve superior customer service performance.

He then outlines step-by-step procedures by which other firms can incorporate these strategies.

A former corporate vice president for human resources at McDonald's Corp. as well as having performed similar duties at Chase Manhattan Bank and Indian Head Inc., Desatnick also is president and founder of Creative Human Resource Consultants in Ohio.

He points out that never before has so much attention been paid to the customer, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on marketing, advertising and promoting both products and services. Unfortunately, he stresses, much of that attention is directed toward wooing new customers rather than pleasing and keeping present ones.

Desatnick also points out that, if the customer is treated with apathy and indifference, if service personnel are rude, inattentive or discourteous, or if the product does not live up to its advertising claims, then all the money spent on promotion, and much more, will not persuade unhappy customers to ever return again.

That common sense approach hits home even harder when we realize that the service sector accounts for two-thirds of our country's gross national product, with more than 60 percent of all employed individuals working in a service capacity.

"Managing to keep the Customer" is about customer service. It is written for all those businesses which depend upon repeat business to survive. …

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