Author: Michael LeBoeuf
Publisher: Pastoral Care Publishing
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
For any business to make profit and survive, it must have enough (loyal) customers. The decision of Dr. Michael LeBoeuf to write this book tagged How to Win Customers & Keep Them for Life is therefore a good one. LeBoeuf is an internationally published author, business consultant and dynamic professional speaker. For more than twenty years, he was a professor of management at the University of New Orleans, retiring at age of forty-seven.
This author asserts that the success of any firm depends largely on the knowledge of the answers to the critical questions such as, “Why do some people buy once and never return?”, “Why do some people become strong, steady customers?”, “How do you turn an angry or complaining customer into a happy and satisfied one?”, etc.
LeBoeuf says one of the single greatest keys to long-term business success can be summed up in the phrase “Quality customer service”. He adds that yet, there is painful awareness that outstanding service is far too rare. LeBoeuf expatiates that the reason for this is as a result of these three problems: (1) employees do not know the basics; (2) the moments of truth, those crucial points of customer contact that can make or break a business, are not being properly identified and managed; and (3) poor reward system, that is, most managers fail to reward workers for giving excellent service.
This book is segmented into three parts of 22 chapters. The first part is thematically labelled “The basics” and contains nine chapters. Chapter one borders on the greatest business secret in the world. Here, this author stresses the importance of the consciousness of customer satisfaction and care as a secret of customer retention and business success. “Stop for a moment and consider just how valuable customers are. They alone make it possible for you to earn your livelihood in the way that you do. Treat them well and satisfied customers will be your best source of advertising and marketing,” he submits.
Chapter two is entitled “Better than selling”. Here, LeBoeuf says the “better than selling” principle is about focusing on what customers want and need, helping them to buy what is best for them and making them feel good about it. According to him, this principle is important for everyone who works and not just those in sales.
In chapters three to nine, he examines concepts such as the greatest customer you will ever win; the only two things people ever buy; buying much more when they buy you; the importance of customer perception; asking the golden question to win new customers; asking the platinum question to win new customers; and five best ways to keep customers coming back.
Part two is generically christened “Managing the moments of truth: Ten action-ready strategies”, and contains ten chapters, that is, chapters ten to 19. In chapter ten, LeBoeuf discusses what to do when the customer appears, calls or inquires. “The most crucial contact of all is the first one that the customer makes with your business, because if you lose him here, he’s likely lost forever,” says this expert.
In chapters 11 to 14, LeBoeuf discusses what to do when the customer is angry or defensive; what to do when the customer has special requests; what to do when the customer cannot make up his mind; as well as what to do when the customer raises objections to buying.
In chapter 15 based on what to do when the customer gives buying signals, the author says it is all too common for salespeople to spend half an hour selling their services and two hours buying them back. There is a time to talk, a time to listen, and a time to close, he educates, adding that the best time to sell is when the customer is ready to buy.
In chapters 16 to 19, he analytically X-rays concepts such as what to do when the customer buys; what to do when the customer refuses to buy; what to do when the customer complains; and what to do when the customer is going to be disappointed.
The last part is summarily tagged “The triple-win reward system”, and contains three chapters, that is, chapters 20 to 22. In chapter 20 entitled “What gets rewarded gets done”, LeBoeuf submits that people behave the way the reward system teaches them to behave. “The single greatest obstacle to effective performance in most organisations is the giant mismatch between the behaviour needed and the behaviour rewarded. Organisations of all kinds fall into the trap of hoping for A, rewarding B, and wondering why they get B,” discloses the author.
In chapters 21 to 22, LeBoeuf beams his analytical searchlight on how to keep the spotlight on the customer and the quality customer service action plan. According to him, when it comes to providing excellent service, many business owners and managers realise that their service quality needs improvement, yet opt for Band-Aid solutions.
There is no denying the fact the ideas radiated examined in the twenty-two chapters of this book are very didactic, creative and brilliant. What’s more, they reflect high level of research on the part of the author.
As regards style, this book is excellent. For instance, there is simplicity as regards the language of the book. Additionally, the fact that the text is segmented into three parts that are well articulated makes it easy to study. At the beginning of every chapter, LeBoeuf uses either a legendary quote or classical allusion to achieve conceptual reinforcement. He also employs reflective illustrations to achieve analytical clarity.
However, one major language correction that needs to be effected in the book is that “And”, the coordinating conjunction of adding should have been used instead of the symbol “&” in the title of the book to convey linguistic formality.
Generally, this text is a classic. If you want your business to survive through the knowledge of how to win and retain customers, you need to read this book. It is strategically revealing.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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