Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Title: Becoming a SERVICE ICON in 90 Minutes a Month
Author: Jeff Mowatt
Publisher: JC Mowatt Seminars Inc. (www.jeffmowatt.com)
ISBN: 0-9734704-0-2
Category: Business / Management
No. of Pages: 164

"Becoming a SERVICE ICON in 90 Minutes a Month" is a well-written, highly readable book that gives a clear road map to those individuals and organisations (or rather the individuals who feel responsible for the organisation) who are interested in taking their service standards to ever increasing heights and having reached a great height, staying there. They stand out as symbols of outstanding service, or in other words, they become the SERVICE ICONs. And Jeff shows how it can be done, with as little as 90 minutes a month, which is all it takes to conduct a CAST Meeting (Customer Service Team Meeting, copyrighted). However, before the first meeting can be conducted, a lot of groundwork is needed, including employee training, conducted through his "Influence with Ease" (Trademark Registered) customer service training.

Jeff's approach is good, and is laid out in 8 chapters. Chapter 1 is rightly titled, "What's in This for you". The second chapter gives a broad outline of the CAST Meetings, followed by the next five chapters, which describe the subtle shifts needed in Customer Service Training, Service Standards, Customer Surveys, Employee Motivation and Daily Priorities. The final chapter describes the actual meeting process.

The anecdotes and the examples given by Jeff are from real life and will certainly hit home. I liked especially two examples: one about the customer feed-back survey, where a car-wash employee not only gets the real problem about the front-desk poor service from a customer (who was not going to complain but who, if possible will not come back) by asking the right question, but also succeeds in getting the customer's good-will by offering a discount, simply because the company empowered him to take on the spot decisions. The second example, which appealed to me was the way a Government employee went out of his way to give a refund cheque to a person who was in real need. That story brought tears to my eyes. If only we all could be as sensitive as that employee!

Jeff makes one important observation in his book, which I liked, the need to treat all people (employees, customers etc.) fairly, not necessarily equally. The difference is important and in many organisations, which go by the rule book, the approach becomes impersonal. Every rule has an exception and Jeff brings out clearly the need to empower employees to differentiate between these two aspects.

The cartoons used by permission from Randy Glasbergen (www.glasbergen.com) in the book add humour and reinforce the points made by Jeff. The book is well printed, and the editing is generally good, though a few slips were noticed, which however, do not distort the message.

The book is aimed at managers (that include people at many levels including supervisors, executives and top management) who are interested in making their organisation a SERVICE ICON, an example to be looked up to and emulated by one and all including the competitors. Even for those who are not in North America, the book gives enough ideas to get going. The book can be supplemented by the Multimedia kits availble from the same source.

I would have preferred to see this book in hard-cover since it makes a good addition to the shelf of many a library. The paper-back is fine for individuals.

Recommendation: A good read