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Put the Customer First
on 16 June 2007
Customer is King How to exceed their expectations By Robert craven
I am a voracious consumer of business books. The problem is there is a lot of them. The market is massive so the publishers like to keep producing them. Similar to self help books they can become addictive. The answer to "what do you do after you have read a self help book ?"is
"Read another one."
Some are "look at me how clever I am having left school at 15 with no education and now I am a millionaire many times over. If I can do it so can you. The only reason that you are not a success like me is that you are too lazy. I may not be clever but I can work hard. " These are more like novels and can be interesting if the business man concerned has something to impart and appears to have an endearing personality.
Others are more like manuals or how to do it.
Do any of them work . I doubt it as the television shows people trying to start businesses without the first clue of a plan or trying to make a business pitch without any prior preparation.
I know a couple of people who have read all the books ,know all the theory of business but have never ever run one for themselves and are afraid to start one. If you read all the books you can convince yourself that it is not the right time or place to start a business. In any event you need a USP, unique selling proposition. All you need is to start now and copy someone else's winning formula.
None of the recent crop of British businessmen have actually invented anything. They have just stuck at a well worn formula and made money.
I read them for two reasons
1 will I learn even one small thing from the whole book that might give me a good business idea
2 I would like to write one.
This one is written by a mentor and consultant Robert Craven according to the jacket. He may or may not have run his own business. Usually when these authors have run businesses they are usually marketing companies not "real" companies.
Marketing is a great subject to talk about as it is so imprecise that anyone can be an expert at it.It is like advertising no one really knows what works for your business but there are plenty of people out there who are prepared to accept fees to tell you what the answer is.
The book is divided into three sections and 28 chapters.
A lot of it is the blindingly obvious such as Put your customer first. under why marketing sometimes fails and one of the five reasons marketing fails is lack of commitment.
Understand what people want. In my profession ( the law) many practitioners come out with cliches such as to what the customer wants without any real idea if it is true. Recently I spoke to an estate agent who could give me work and our theory that agents wanted solicitors who would get them to their commission fees as quickly as possible didn't register at all.
They wanted me to give them commission !
Chapter seven Is there a secret of customer service?
Their answer is good service is very hard to do and treat the customer as you would like to be treated yourself .
Chapter 8 Take on the mindset of the market leader.
That is learn from the best Again in my job the market leaders are easy to deal with but the also rans are hard work.
Chapter 10 Working the law of the vital few
This reminds us of Pareto principle that is the 80/20 rule .
20 per cent of inputs cause eighty percent so outputs. That is concentrate on what produces the results.
I applied this a few years ago and cut down on too many areas of unprofitable work which in turn doubled my profits.
Why customers quit
10% are chronic complainers
68% go elsewhere because the people who serve them are indifferent to their needs; they just don't car
Chapter 17 The seven Point customer King Plan
1 Redefine your business as a problem solver
2 Understand the real scope of your business
3 Get under each customer's skin
4 Stand out in order to be outstanding
5 Develop a strategy to define your position
6 Calculate just how much a customer is worth to you
7 Select your weapons.
The last chapter 27 is Delivering the Promise.
Marketing courage: enthusiasm, energy and passion.
Not a bad book, not a gripping read but some good points. It lets your know one thing that is that there is no one answer. If you undertook a handful of the points in this book you would become successful.
The best two points were copying the market leader and applying the 80/20 rule.
The another one would be one of my own " Answer the phone when a potential customer rings" I find it works for me.