In this companion volume to the widely acclaimed "Service Breakthroughs: Changing the Rules of the Game, " Professors Earl Sasser, Christopher Hart, and James Heskett present 37 case studies and 10 readings which focus on "breakthrough" service providers— firms which have changed the rules of the game in their industries by consistently meeting or exceeding their customers' needs and expectations. Designed for classroom adoption in business schools or as a text for in-house corporate education programs, this volume may be used in conjunction with "Service Breakthroughs" or stand alone as the basis for a service management course.
Breakthrough leaders think very differently about their businesses than do their competitors, and the authors show how in distinct and well-defined ways, their accomplishments stand out from the rest. At the heart of breakthrough performance is a sometimes intuitive but thorough understanding of the "self-reinforcing service cycle" that replaces traditional management of "trade-offs." The "cycle" is a paradigm derived from the research results suggesting direct links between heightened customer satisfaction, increased customer retention, augmented sales and profit, improved quality and productivity, greater service value per unit of cost, improved satisfaction of service providers, increased employee retention, and further heightened customer satisfaction. In these dramatic case studies of Club Med, Ford Motor Company, UPS, Florida Power & Light, Federal Express, Nordstrom, Benetton, and many other companies, Sasser, Hart, and Heskett show how this self-reinforcing cycle of behavior differentiates breakthrough leaders from their "merely good"competitors.
These cases describe how breakthrough managers develop counterintuitive, even contrarian, strategic service visions. These companies define their "service concept" in terms of results achieved for customers rather than services performed. They target market segments by focusing on psychographics— how customers think and behave— instead of demographics. And instead of viewing a service delivery system as a facility where the service is produced and sold, breakthrough firms see it as an opportunity to enhance the quality of the service.
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