Required Reading: Getting the Most From Customer Relationships

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Wal-Mart veteran Michael Bergdahl delivers useful insights into the retailer's strategies, including customer service, in What I Learned From Sam Walton: How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World(John Wiley & Sons). Insider tips, checklists, and a comprehensive self-assessment test help readers create their own winning service strategies. Who Stole My Customer?: Winning Strategies for Creating and Sustaining Customer Loyalty
(Prentice Hall), by Harvey Thompson, dares to take a look at the darker side of relationships, urging readers to examine which competitors may just have a better pulse on their customers. By systematically understanding which customers to target, and by dispelling 10 common myths about customers, this book teaches how to best personalize products and services, segment based on customer life cycle events, and more. Using scenarios that force the reader to see the customer perspective, Thompson's book endorses an interesting and logical approach to creating customer loyalty. To help sales managers combine the two distinct challenges of setting goals and helping their staff to meet those goals, author Robert Simpkins has penned The Secrets of Great Sales Management: Advanced Strategies for Maximizing Performance (AMACOM). In the book Simpkins has carefully laid the groundwork for building successful career development plans for employees, understanding oneself better, and learning the arts of talent scouting and coaching, among other often overlooked tricks of the trade. There is a little-known disorder called "brand immune system" and author John Winsor is out to put a stop to it. In Beyond the Brand: Why Engaging the Right Customers Is Essential to Winning in Business (Dearborn Trade Publishing), Winsor explains how companies can restructure the relationship with a consumer culture that has become increasingly disconnected. This guidebook details a seven-step strategy: focusing on key voices, getting the story, listening, finding unexpected inspiration, using intuition, finding the center of gravity, and telling the story. The online marketplace might arguably be the most difficult environment for thriving customer relationships. After all, the consumer is rarely spoken to--let alone seen. Customer Relationship Management in Electronic Markets (Best Business Books), edited by Gopalkrishnan Iyer, Ph.D., and David Bejou, Ph.D., however, aims to help cultivate optimal customer retention and loyalty in the virtual world. The book presents data and analyses from CRM experts at many U.S. universities to help readers to improve their B2B and B2C exchanges, predict electronic marketing profitability, and best cater to fluctuating customer and prospect desires via the Internet.
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