The One to One Manager by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. Currency/Doubleday, 1999, 268 pages, $21.95.
If you have a fire, your local fire department responds immediately and professionally. But Fire Chief Bruce Varner of the Carrollton (Texas) Fire Department understands that even if no one is hurt, the trauma of a fire does not end once the flames are conquered.
"At the moment when most fire departments begin packing up their gear, Varner's firefighters morph themselves from smoke eaters into service reps," write authors Peppers and Rogers. For example, Varner assigns firefighters to search through the charred wreckage for valuables, such as wallets, books, or jewelry boxes. Firefighters offer guidance and the use of a cell phone to help victims find shelter. They'll even run an extension cord from the deep freezer full of shell steaks they found in the basement of a burned-out home to a neighbor's house so that the meat won't spoil.
Personal, Trusting Relationships
Since their groundbreaking 1993 book, The One to One Future, Peppers and Rogers have been relentlessly pushing the importance of establishing personal, trusting relationships with each and every one of your customers -- what they call "one-to-one marketing."
In general terms, the concept may not sound revolutionary. Medieval butchers knew the kind of meat that certain customers preferred. Medieval butchers, however, did not have the kind of customer base that today's companies must manage.
In The One to One Future, Peppers and Rogers insisted not only that personal relationships were possible -- regardless of the type of business (or the number of customers) a company may have -- but that such relationships were mandatory for future success. Their succeeding books, Enterprise One to One and especially The One to One Fieldbook, focused on how to create such relationships. With The One to One Manager: Real World Lessons in Customer Relationship Management, Peppers and Rogers offer a collection of more than 40 mini case studies that demonstrate how companies and organizations of any type, from DaimlerChrysler to Hewlett-Packard, are putting one-to-one marketing into practice.
One of the companies profiled is USAA, the Army insurance company that was practicing one-to-one marketing years before Peppers and Rogers started writing. (The authors dedicate this book to USAA's pioneering leader General Robert McDermott, whom they rightly call the Obi-Wan Kenobi of one-to-one marketing.) Other examples include American Airlines, 1-800-FLOWERS, La Mansion del Rio Hotel in San Antonio, and, of course, the Carrollton Fire Department.
All business owners and managers should keep this small, readable book on their shelves. And make room for the next one in the series, The One to One Sales Force.