The last quote in this book says it best, so let's start with that. According to retailing legend Stanley Marcus of Neiman-Marcus: "There are only two things of importance. One is the customer, and the other is the product. If you take care of customers, they come back. If you take care of your product, it doesn't come back. It's just that simple. And it's just that difficult." Richard C. Whiteley, co-founder of The Forum Corporation, a leading consulting group that works with companies on customer-focussed quality issues, has written a readable, relatively basic (that doesn't necessarily translate to simple) book on how to become a customer-driven company. Based on five years of research conducted by his company, the book reviews such maxims as "Saturate your company with the voice of the customer," and "communicate your vision constantly." While there is nothing particularly new about what Whiteley reports, he carefully catalogs the process of determining what customers want and how to give it to them. In so doing, he leads the reader along the customer's path, and provides insightful points to ponder. What's interesting about this book is the duality of the material presented. Of the roughly 300 pages in this book, one-third is an extensive appendix filled with various customer surveys, and explanations of other research tools. Need to create a histogram? No problem, it's in this book, as are explanations on force field analyses, process mapping and tracking and more. While informative as a reference tool, this last third is starkly different from the main text, which covers the message in a basic, quick-read way. In any case, reading both parts will give you a full sense of the customer-driven movement and some how-to's to begin the journey.
Rated by Fortune Magazine as one of the best management books in 1991, this business classic and bestseller is recognized as the Bible of Customer Service. This book went right along with my Fundamentals of Management class in college - - I picked it up at a garage sale - - lots of good suggestions for the entrepeneur or career business manager.