James uses experiences gleaned from the health care industry to reveal every employee’s importance in organizational efforts to provide top-quality customer service and ramp up overall effectiveness.
In the author’s analogy, a table that rests on the floor represents the physical facilities of an organization. The tabletop is the organization’s customers and clients. This book focuses on the table’s legs, which symbolize an organization’s managers and administrators, its key professionals and knowledge workers, and its frontline service staff—all interdependent, with different responsibilities but similar opportunities to deliver the best possible customer experience. Though James bases his book on his experiences in the health care industry, he draws clear lessons and guidelines readers can apply elsewhere. Other books on the topic, such as Customer Service for Dummies (2006), the Customer Service Training 101 series and Indispensable: How to Become the Company Your Customers Can’t Live Without (2005), focus on the nuts and bolts of positive interactions with customers. James advocates a more strategic, systematic approach. He argues for the importance of establishing and maintaining good relationships within the organization, likening small conflicts to paper cuts that cumulatively weaken an organization’s effectiveness. Corporate culture, its values and vision, also come under his discerning eye. The culture permeates and conditions every employee’s perception of what’s going on, positive or negative, within the organization, how fairly policies are enforced, and especially how thoroughly one is appreciated and respected. According to James, customers sense both the organization’s culture and its impact on employees, and this greatly influences their feelings of confidence and trust. Perhaps most importantly, James discusses the importance of nurturing leadership at all levels of the organization as “an ongoing process” and arranging opportunities “allowing every team member to advance and show their skills.” The book concludes with James’ proposal for “Ten Commandments of the Work Environment,” highlighted by the dictum that “finding the best answer often requires everyone being involved.”
Short and sweet, this book provides uncommon insights and practical advice for helping organizations nurture their employees while delivering the best possible customer experience.