Author John Tschohl

Publisher: Best Sellers Publishing. 136 pages

Book Review by Ramu Nakliba

All too often we as customers get lousy service because the customer service representative is simply concerned abut not doing the wrong thing when customers make a request.

Most of the time the company they work for does not have a culture that is focused on pleasing customers. Customer service reps do not realize that they are the first and most important link between their company and its customers.

Customers typically do not complain if they do not get what they ask for. They simply walk away and probably never return to that store or company.

Empowerment – giving customers the authority to make decisions up to a certain percent of the revenue or dollar amount with the primary aim of making customers “over happy” and ensuring they come back again and again – is of paramount importance, John Tschohl emphasizes.

You get the gist of this book from the words on its inside flap: “Empowered employees will give excellent customer service…turning unhappy customers into happy, repeat customers. Moreover, happy, empowered, fulfilled employees are less likely to leave the company, reducing turnover. Solving a customer’s problem quickly benefits everyone, ad that is why the key to a company’s success lies in empowered employees.”

Some years ago I was flying to Seoul from Newark airport on a US airline. Rushing to the airport, I did not have breakfast but was unconcerned; I assumed breakfast would by served on flight. To my dismay, all they served was a couple of teeny packets of peanuts.

Several weeks later on my return to the US from my Asia business trip, my flight from Singapore was much delayed in reaching the connecting point Detroit, from which I would take the last lap of my journey to Newark. Along with the delay in arrival was a long walk to the boarding gate, which turned out to be the wrong one: the Singapore boarding clerk had made a mistake. I had to waste two hours for the next flight out.

I wrote a letter to that airline’s president about the “peanut-brained thinking” they use to save a few bucks but lose customers, and all I got were 5,000 frequent-flyer miles. Since that incident I am not flying that airline ever again.

The idea of empowerment emphasizes how important customer service is. John Tschohl best illustrates how critical this practice is to building the business of a company by citing the example of E. Wong, a small grocery store that was set up in Lima, Peru in 1942 that grew to become the Wong Group – a chain of 34 supermarkets with 10,000+ employees, sales of $1.1 billion dollars and 63 percent market share.

Words cannot describe how important empowerment is, but this story of the supermarket chain demonstrates what it really is, how critical it is to business success and growth.

John Tschohl has written an excellent book that really makes a profound impact on any business owner or employee. He is founder and president of Service Quality Institute, which helps companies develop excellent customer service and empowered employees.