Book reviews

Book Reviews


Many interesting books on the subject of Customer Delight are available these days. In order to help you choose the book that answers best your curiosity, we’ve listed some of them for you below. The list is on alphabetical order of writers. For every book we cited (in pink) a remarkable one-liner or idea.



Spoil ‘em Rotten!

Five star customer delight in action

By Jane & Ted Coiné. Published by iUniverse 2007

This couple of consultants wrote a parable about the student Candace who interviews the successful Mr. Walsh, owner of an upscale supermarket that outperforms competitors. She works in the stores for a semester and on the way learns 60 lessons from Mr. Walsh on how and why deliver delight and how to make your organization deliver delight consistently. Lessons range from: “Getting new customers is a company’s absolute biggest expense, so do what it takes to keep them once they’re yours” to the 15 SOP (standard operating procedures ) with 7 standard behavior, 7 process rules and 1 management procedure being: top 2 managers visible during peak hours. The book is especially interesting for those who operate a retail business.



Good to Great

By Jim Collins. Published by Harper Business 2001

Jim Collins and his team have researched 11 American companies that have outperformed the competition. They identify 6 concepts on which these 11 have distinguished themselves and which are considered factors for success.

1: Level 5 leadership underlining the importance of self effacing and willful character of leader, 2: First who… then what explaining that the right people are the most important asset. 3: Confront brutal facts while keeping faith, 4: The hedgehog concept helps to define what the core business should be. He suggest creating a stop-doing list 5: Culture of discipline where hierarchy is not needed as people are all disciplined. 6 Technology accelerators which are never a primary means of transformation.

The advice of the book is based on scientific research and thus the material is treated in a rather intellectual way.



Positively Outrageous Service

How to delight and astound your customers and win them for life

By T. Scott Gross.Published by Dearborn Trade Publishing 2004

With a lot of humor and in down to-earth-language (“hellooo, who do you think …”) Gross succeeds in transferring his passion for customer delight. When providing POS (Positively Outrageous Service) your customers will keep coming back for more. Even though on the cover a man is doing a back flip (or something that looks back breaking) his “pos points” are practical and often easy to implement tips or easy to understand definitions. Furthermore there a series of ideas on implementation of micro branding. Gross concludes: if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Sounds true to me… Another precious one: market it like there’s no tomorrow.



Delivering Delightful, ‘Diamond’ Customer Experiences

By Andy Hanselman.  Available on line, 2012

Hanselmann wrote this paper to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II (what a way to delight her, surely surprising). He explains, with a lot of convincing figures from scientific researches, the importance of customer delight. In the second part he provides 60 tips to deliver delight and integrate the customer centric attitude into your corporate culture by means of UBER. UBER stands for: everyone Understands how to behave, company Builds systems to reinforce behaviour, employees should be Engaged and Empowered to provide delight and employees are Recognized and Rewarded for the delight they deliver.

He cites Angelou, People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel



Uplifting Service

The proven path to delighting your customers, colleagues and everyone else you meet.

By Ron Kaufman.  March 1, 2006

Ron Kaufman states that uplifting service is not a strategy but a way of life, : “The best way to get what you want is by helping others to get what they want.” He suggests everybody will be a happier person when adding value for other people, and the world would be a better place…. By leading his up-country, naïve (“Singapore is situated south of China”, pardon?), American friend Tod Nordstrom, around in Singapore and it’s service mindedness, Kaufman explains 5 key elements to developing a customer centric company culture: 1: Why, 2: Lead (your company towards change), 3: Build (process and tools to help sustain the change), 4: Learn (from employees and customers) and 5: Drive (the change). He uses examples of companies he has worked with, mainly in Singapore and the USA. The book provides critical questions for top leaders to ask, helping them to transferring the given theory to their organization.



Likeable Social Media

How to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand, and be generally amazing on facebook (and other social networks)

By Dave Kerpen. Published by McGraw Hill 2011

From the very first act of Word of Mouth (Eve telling Adam to taste the apple), to today ‘s thousands of people tell their happy and unhappy experiences to others thanks to social media. Kerpen considers social media like the world’s biggest cocktail party: “You better listen carefully, be responsive and authentic and tell great stories.” He gives 18 strategies to help create a brand through on-line social media networks. He suggests practical ideas to conceptualize a social media plan. His advice for you: “All you have to do is stop thinking like a marketer and start thinking like your customer.”



The New Gold Standard

5 leadership principles for creating legendary customer experience courtesy of Ritz Carlton

By Joseph A. Michelli. Published by McGraw Hill 2008

The Ritz Carlton has developed over 100 years as a benchmark in guest experience. The book distills 5 leadership principles that produce the Ritz Carlton’s corporate culture, with staff empowerment and extra-ordinary commitment to the customers. 1= Define and re-define (corporate culture and strategy), 2.: Empower through trust, 3= It’s not about you (b

ut about those you lead). The famous adagio: Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen (meaning: treat your employees like you want them to treat your customer) leads attitudes of management, 4= Deliver Wow and 5= Leaving a lasting footprint. The book proposes questions for managers to transfer the provided theory to their own organization.



The Starbucks Experience

5 principles turning ordinary into extra-ordinary

By Joseph A. Michelli. Published by McGraw Hill 2007

Starbucks wants to be the 3rd place, (after home and work) for their clients, they want to create a feeling of belonging. The book offers insights into the Starbucks experience and how to apply these to increase leadership influence in reader’s own business. Michelli distinguishes 5 keys: 1: Make it your own (personalizing the relationship with customers), 2: Everything matters (retail is detail) 3: Surprise and delight 4: Embrace resistance (from customers and local authorities) and 5: Leave your mark (social involvement).



Employees first, customers second

Turning conventional management upside down.

By Vineet Nayar.  Published by Harvard Business Press 2010


This book is about delighting employees (for them to be able to delight customers). Nayar is CEO of HCL Technologies, an Indian (international) firm providing IT solutions. The company was losing market share, mind share and employees were leaving for the competition. Nayar reversed this trend by crating employee engagement, an entrepreneurial attitude. The process contained 4 steps. 1: Mirror Mirror: create dissatisfaction with status quo and build hunger for change. 2: Trust through transparency: creating culture of change, 3:  Inverting the organizational pyramid (by having enabling functions and management support employees that create value for customers), 4: Recasting the role of CEO by transferring the responsibility for change (to every employee in the organization). He explains that throughout the 4 steps communication is as important as change itself, it should be: extreme and experiential (and so he sometimes dances before starting a presentation, we will soon try this ourselves, Johannes first).



The Ultimate Question 2.0

How Net Promoter Companies thrive in a customer-driven world

By Fred Reichheld & Rob Markey.  Published by Harvard Business


Reichheld shows that only 9% of the world’s major firms achieved real sustainable profit and growth over 10- year period from 1999 to 2009. Customer delight is the only kind of growth that can be sustained over the long term. The authors mentioned that Bain & Company have researched and concluded that a 5% increase in customer retention could yield anywhere between 25% to 100% improvement in profits. (we also could have put this in pink).

The book explains the net promoter score, which is a system that measures what customers are feeling and thus creates accountability for the customer experience. The ultimate question of the tile is (are): On a 0-10 score, how likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague? And: What is the primary reason for your score?

The book aims to help readers start the process of implementing NPS. (A detail we noticed: On the flap both authors wear the same business suit, without tie… ).



Four Seasons

The story of a business philosophy

By Isadore Sharp. Published by Penguin Group 200


The book tells the story of Isadore Sharp and the development of the Four Seasons business model. Without an MBA or business studies, he approached the business from a customer’s perspective and so created, intuitively, the 4 strategic elements that form the rock solid basis of the business model: quality, service, culture and brand. He reckons that many things can easily be copied but behavior of people cannot and thus Four Seasons is the sum of it’s people- many many good people. The book does not provide clear advice or theories, but illustrates the interesting story of successes and some failures.



Creating Customer delight

The how and why of CRM

By Kirti Set and Rakesh Seth. Published by Response Books 2005


The writers explain how changes in the Indian society call for implementation a service strategy around Customer Delight at all customer touch points, called ”the sound of service”. They state that you have to know your customer in order to develop a relationship. They propose standardized actions for front line employees to create these relationships. They add 4 subjective Ps: positioning, passion, people and personality because People do not only act based on what they think, but also based on what they feel.The book gives very clear definitions and explanations. The authors do not touch upon the idea of personal initiative to create delight, so you would just have to install compelling standards. This does not ask for a revolutionary change in customer centric corporate culture….



De Klantenfluisteraar

By Jan van Setten. Published by Business Contact 2011


As you might have guessed reading the title, this book is written in Dutch. It addresses business leaders who are interested in practical hands-on ideas and advice. With (Dutch?) humor and many practical (sometimes personal) examples van Setten explains how to please customers. He gives lines of thoughts on how to apply the discussed ideas in your company. One of his 10 commandments is Do not provide what the client asks for, provide what he needs; a pro-active idea leading to delight which can also serve as convincing sales argument.


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