Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers, by Chip Bell and John R. Patterson, describes twelve strategies and tactics to enhance your service delivery and extend customer loyalty to customer devotion. These strategies - including “Camouflage” (seamlessly inserting magic into the customer experience) … “Decoration” (engaging customers with thematic and sensory embellishments) … “Air” and “Air Defense” (critical reminders that service fundamentals can't be taken for granted) - are packaged and presented informatively and entertainingly.
In addition to detailed descriptions and examples of each Take Their Breath Away strategy, the authors provide suggestions on how to execute these strategies to maximize competitive advantage. I particularly like their segmentation model of companies with customer service levels ranging from “customer centric” to “customer indifference.” (Too many of us have had the misfortune of dealing with companies on the lower end of this spectrum.)
While Bell and Patterson mention the importance of engaging employees in creating devoted customers (such as instilling a service vision, listening to employees, and recognizing outstanding service providers), I would have liked to have seen more depth on this topic. Nonetheless, this book is a solid guide for new customer service providers; it’s also a great reference that offers new insight for more experienced service providers.