The Saturn Difference
by Vicki Lenz
John Wiley, 274 pages. $24.95

Talk with Saturn owners, and chances are you'll hear words of praise. They enjoyed buying the car, think it's great to drive, and can't say enough for the service they get. Why? And, for those eager to have enthusiastic customers returning to buy, is there any way to learn from Saturn?

The answers to both questions will be found in helpful detail in this book. And, yes, if you take a ride with Saturn's methods, you will be on the road to success.

Here's one example of those methods: Saturn had a true test of its customer relations in 1998 when, faced with stiff competition, it had to roll back prices. When this decision was made, some 14,000 customers had already bought the 1998 models. Saturn didn't hesitate. To all those customers it sent refund checks ranging from $300 to $960.

A few of the many ideas in this book:

Make customers feel welcome, as you would if they came to your house for dinner.

Build a reputation for quality. It will get people talking about you.

Make buying easy. This calls for training your employees.

Communicate after the sale. Saturn goes all out here. For starters, it makes delivery of the car an event, and explains in depth the car's manual and the company's service. Customers get a "birthday" card on the anniversary of their automotive purchase.

You've heard ideas like these before. But -- and this is important -- you don't know the many details of how Saturn uses them, as told in this book. And the secret of Saturn's success is in those details.

Copyright 1999 Soundview Executive Book Summaries