What Do Citicorp, UPS and Marriott have in common? They are "breakthrough" service providers,firms that changed the rules of the game in their respective industries by consistently meeting or exceeding customer needs and expectations. To find out how these companies do it, service management experts James Heskett, Earl Sasser, and Christopher Hart put the question to the chief executive officers of fifteen of America's leading service firms attending a workshop at the Harvard Business School. Breakthrough leaders, they discovered, think very differently about their businesses than do their competitors, in distinct and well-defined ways. Now, in Service Breakthroughs, based upon five years of exhaustive research in fourteen service industries, Heskett, Sasser, and Hart show exactly what enables one or two companies in each industry to constantly set new standards for quality and value that force competitors to adapt or fail. At the heart of breakthrough performance, the authors contend, is a sometimes intuitivebut 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. With detailed examples and dramatic case studies of Mark Twain Bancshares, American Airlines, Florida Power & Light, Federal Express, McDonald's and many other companies, Heskett, Sasser, and Hart show how this self-reinforcing cycle of behavior differentiates breakthrough leaders from their "merely good" competitors. The authors describe how breakthrough managers develop counterintuitive, even contrarian, strategic service visions. These companies define their "service concept" in terms of resultsachieved for customers rather than services performed. They target market segments by focusing onpsychographics -- how customers think and behave -- instead of demographics. And instead of viewing aservice delivery system as a facility where the service is producted and sold, breakthrough firms see it as an opportunity to enhance the quality of the service. These profound differences in thought and action have brought spectacular results. For managers who wish to set the pace in their service industries, Service Breakthroughs will be essential reading.
- Electronic book text
- 17 Sep 1990
- SIMON & SCHUSTER
- The Free Press
- United States
Table of contents
Preface Acknowledgments1. Creating Breakthrough Services2. Developing a Vision of the Business3. Building Customer Loyalty4. Focusing and Positioning the Service5. Determining the True Costs and Benefits of Service Quality6. Developing Devices for Achieving Total Customer Satisfaction7. Managing for Quality and Productivity Gains8. Managing Demand and Supply9. Managing Networks10. Managing Information Technologies11. Mobilizing People12. Organizing Work13. Conceiving Future Breakthroughs14. Realizing Service BreakthroughsAppendix: Illustrative Approaches to Transportation Network DesignNotesIndex
C. William Pollard Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The ServiceMaster Company Limited Partnership Other management books in recent years have underscored the need for excellence in quality service, but Heskett, Sasser and Hart have gone deeper to portray in detail the anatomy of outstanding service firms. By considering the total environment -- both external and internal -- in which breakthrough service firms must operate, the authors reveal the true complexity of consistently delivering outstanding customer service. William W Bain, Jr. Chairman, Bain & Company Inc. "Service Breakthroughs" shows the "strategic" importance of service quality and customer retention, and provides important lessons on how service providers can earn the loyalty of customers and employees. John J. Hudiburg Former Chairman, Florida Power & Light Company "Service Breakthroughs" is full of lessons and insights on how to successfully manage for service quality I wish I had had this book to read eight years ago when we were getting started in installing quality at FPL. Charles W McCall President and Chief Executive Officer, CompuServe, Inc. To survive and succeed in a decade of rapidly changing technologies and increasing global competition for service companies, we must strive to "change the rules of the game." "Service Breakthroughs" provides a framework to help us do exactly that. M. Anthony Burns Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Ryder System, Inc. "Service Breakthroughs" is beautifully illustrated with examples of the winning strategies which some of the country's most successful service companies have used to move out of the pack and into the leadership positions they now enjoy.
About James L. Heskett
James L. Heskett teaches at the Harvard Business School.