Review: Meeting Customer Needs

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Title: Meeting Customer Needs
Author(s): Ian Smith
Publisher: Butterworth Heinemann in association with Chartered Management Institute
Price: £19.99
ISBN: 0-7506-5984-X
Reviewer: Angela Busby, Great West Life Assurance Co.

This is the third edition of Meeting Customer Needs by Ian Smith, a diploma level book in the Chartered Management Institute series. In keeping with advancements in technology and learning environments a companion website provides support for the book in the form of revision notes and lecturers’ notes. Technically well written, the layout of the pages and use of nicely sized, readable figures/diagrams makes this a very user-friendly text with ample white space for annotation by the reader.

For individuals new to the subject area, sections on psychographics and psychology (chapter 2) may seem a little limited or under explained. This is likely due to the text being primarily targeted to those in formal education/training programs. It should be noted that both Kotler and Maslow are referenced at the end of the chapter. However, the reader may need to search to find more current references and information related to their theories if they wish to have a better understanding of them and their application.

The case studies presented are current and reflective of today’s business environment and a renewed and ever increasing focus on meeting customer needs and providing quality customer service.

A notable feature of this text is its ability to present information in various formats simultaneously. The book, as noted in the introduction, can be read from beginning to end providing the reader with valuable and applicable information. In addition, it presents “action boxes” throughout the text that assist the user in developing their own action plans. Often it is getting started that proves to be the biggest hurdle for managers tackling how to improve customer service and relationships. By following this approach, the user will be able to apply what they are learning in a more immediate and tangible manner. The inclusion of self-assessment questions at the end of each chapter provide the reader with an immediate measure of their understanding of the theories and concepts being presented.

Although this text has been created for use in the Chartered Management Institute series (IM Certificate and Diploma and/or management courses up to level 5 NVQ), the format and presentation of topics and concepts does allow for use in a more self-directed fashion. Making this text not only an excellent resource for the class or training room but also, a good personal resource for managers interested in improving customer service.

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