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By Chip R. Bell and Bilijack R. Bell
Passionately devoted customers assertively champion you, forgive you if you err, defend you (even when you were at fault), demonstrate long-term commitment to your success, and are willing to pay a premium (think Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Ritz-Carlton hotels, USAA insurance, and Starbucks coffee). Their intense (some would say "cult-like") loyalty comes not from allegiance to a product but from compelling experiences they tell stories about. Whether your customers are external or down the hall, this powerful book unveils seven provocative secrets for creating passionate devoted customers.
Customers who are devoted to your internal unit or organization act substantially different than the customers who are simply loyal. The passionately devoted customer not only forgives you when you err but actually helps you correct what caused the mistake. They don't just recommend you; they assertively insist that their friends do business with you. They vehemently defend you when others are critical; and even if the reason for the criticism is accurate, they quickly dismiss it as an aberration or an exception.
But there is even more to devotion. Some devoted customers of Harley-Davidson tattoo the company logo on their bodies. Devoted guests of Ritz-Carlton wear the hotel's logoed clothes and have Ritz-Carlton cobalt-blue accessories in their homes. Devotion is a connection that becomes a part of the customer's identity and life expression.
The goal of Magnetic Service is to create an experience so compelling that it allures or draws the customer back, time and time again. Figuring out the components that give rise to passionate devotion is not a simple process. There is clearly a psycho-logic to appeal. Color, shape, sound and touch form an intricate pattern in the brain that links with learned preferences and spells attraction. There is also a social component at work. Somehow, privately watching the Green Bay Packers in the living room is not the same as elbowing your way through the bleachers with two hotdogs and cold beer. But organizations can't turn on a tape of a cheering mob or flood the store with the smell of motorcycle exhaust every time their customers enter the office, store, or department.
The authors' discovery of the seven powerful secrets of Magnetic Service came through a study of several "cult-like" brands-those organizations that had a very large share of customers who behaved like groupies. They studied companies as diverse as USAA Insurance, Universal Studios, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, the "best in the world" Mansion at Turtle Creek Hotel and Restaurant, Sewell Village Cadillac, and Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Additionally, they interviewed managers, frontline employees, and some of the most devoted customers of such well-known brands as Marriott, Merrill Lynch, American Honda, ReMax, Pfizer, Holiday Inn, MBNA, Victoria's Secret, and Aurora Health Care.
In this study, the authors found patterns or practices that seemed to yield customer devotion. They distilled these patterns and practices into the seven secrets for creating passionately devoted customers that serve as the building blocks for this book.
Chip R. Bell is a senior partner with Performance Research Associates, Inc. and manages their Dallas, TX office. His consulting practice focuses on helping organizations build a culture that supports long-term customer devotion. Prior to starting a consulting firm in the late 1970s, he was Director of Management and Organization Development for NCNB, now Bank of America. Chip is the author or co-author of fourteen books including Customer Love: Attracting and Keeping Customers for Life, Customers As Partners: Building Relationships That Last, Managers As Mentors: Building Partnerships For Learning, Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service (with Ron Zemke), Dance Lessons: Six Steps to Great Partnerships in Business and Life (with Heather Shea-Schultz), and Beep-Beep: Competing in the Age of the Road Runner (with Oren Harari). Chip's work has been featured on CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg TV, NPR, Voice of America, and Reuters and in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine and Business Week. Additionally, he has authored over 200 articles and several major training films.
Bilijack R. Bell is a commercial real estate professional with Wilson, Hull & Neal in Atlanta. With seven years in commercial real estate, he has a solid reputation for highly creative approaches to client service. That reputation has earned him membership in both the prestigious President's Club and the Million Dollar Club. His service articles have appeared in such publications as Realtor Magazine, Staff Digest, and Midas Matters.*****
Magnetic Service: Secrets for Creating Passionately Devoted Customers
By Chip R. Bell and Bilijack R. Bell
Number of Pages: 161
Publication Date: October 2003
Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.