Since the 1980s and 90s American consumers have been inundated with customer-focused slogans– “The Customer is King”, “The Customer Comes First”, “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” – all the result of corporate America’s promotion of newly defined “service-oriented cultures.” As part of this movement, many corporations renamed their customer service centers “guest services” or “customer care” and soon after their traditional customer service agents became “guest relations” or “customer care” specialists.
The body of literature is prolific as it relates to customer satisfaction and performance improvement. There are countless case studies and best practices: Nordstrom’s, Wal-Mart, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and Stew Leonard’s, to name but a few. The body of literature is also rich with models on developing customer loyalty and customer value, as well as selling outcomes or solutions as opposed to selling products or services. In the end, the key to customer loyalty is the behaviors and attitudes of the people who deliver those solutions. Without successful interactions between people – the producers and the consumers – there are no loyalty programs, no funds for growth and expansion, and certainly no profits.
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