Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Review: 'Driven to Delight' by Joseph A. Michelli

David McCullough chronicles the stories of great Americans. Global consultant Michelli chronicles the stories of great customer service companies. In previous titles Michelli has dissected the gold-standard service at such organizations as Pike Place Fish Market, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton, and Zappos.
His new book about Mercedes Benz takes on a manufacturer, and that introduces an intriguing wrinkle. The luxury car company had long built its brand on engineering excellence, safety, and innovation: all inarguably good things.
But Mercedes’ product focus was so strong that it eclipsed buyer relationships. As a result new competitors gained an advantage by creating a much better dealership experience.
Mercedes, Michelli writes, was vulnerable: “Its retail/dealership experience was uneven and lacked a well-defined objective with attendant accountability.” So the leadership “sought to make the company an experience provider that was on a par with-if not better than-other iconic brands.”
Mercedes’ new orientation is evident even in its advertising: note the change from “Engineered Like No Other Car in the World” to the far more inclusive and even bolder: “The Best or Nothing.”
Michelli extrapolates the lessons of Mercedes to other companies where “leaders must not just state their vision of customer experience excellence but also look to their people and see them demonstrate an obsession with details that make the difference between ‘good’ and ‘the best’ customer experiences.”

Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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