THE NEW MARKET LEADERS: WHOS WINNING & HOW IN THE BATTLE FOR CONSUMERS
Wiersema (coauthor of the bestselling The Discipline of Market Leaders) offers insights into customer service strategies that win. Based on a six-year study of 5,000 global companies, this book examines 100 of these companies in detail, including General Electric, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Intel and AOL Time Warner, arguing that executives and managers can no longer blame the Internet or the New Economy for their customer service failings. Wiersema finds that the most successful companies focus on being at the forefront of new technology and, most importantly, try to learn from other winning companies. Top companies also view "customer loyalty as a fragile condition that requires fastidious attention." For example, McDonald's focuses on customers who eat McDonald's food several times a week, knowing that any new offerings on the menu have to appeal to this core 20% of their customers in order to succeed. Similarly, AOL retains 97% of its customers by simplifying its billing. The book is particularly insightful when discussing Internet companies, including Amazon and Yahoo. Clearheaded and practical, Wiersema's book will be valuable to managers, executives and anyone focused on improving customer service.