"Best Face Forward" looks at how today's technology advances have revolutionized the front office. It argues that savvy companies can outpace the competition by employing the right blend of technology and people to best service customers. The authors convincingly argue that service - be it via a website, a telephone, a TV, a kiosk, or in person -- is the last frontier of sustainable competitive advantage.
The arguments are supported with references to the business literature as well as many original examples. For instance, the authors show how QVC, a company that generates more revenue and earnings per employee than either its chief competitor Home Shopping Network or Wal-Mart, uses people and machines to deliver an intelligent, coordinated, efficient customer service proposition. The authors also examine the damage that can be done when businesses fail to recognize that a customer's experience with a telephone reservation line or website matters as much as the experience they have at a physical location. Anyone who has ended up in "voicemail hell" when trying to call their credit card company will recognize the importance of this message. "Best Face Forward" is a must-read for anyone who wants to overhaul or audit their customer touch-points and replicate the success of the leading companies.
Also, on a side note, this is a refreshing change from most business books. Many offer an exciting if obvious idea that gets you to buy them, only to then leave you flabbergasted at how completely obvious and rudimentary they are inside. Or, they are filled with management science that is totally divorced from any practical advice. "Best Face Forward" offers an exciting new idea, but is also well researched and supported with interesting content, and is highly actionable. As a bonus, it is also fun to read. I greatly enjoyed it.