The Ultimate Question
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Just one question: The answer to one simple question is what business loyalty guru Frank Reichheld described as the most important aspect of your company’s future in his landmark book The Ultimate Question.
The magic question reads: ‘Would you recommend us to a friend?’
Reichheld believes that it is the customer's response to this that, ultimately, will define if your business is a success or not.
As we discussed in a similar vein recently, The Ultimate Question argues that many companies are so busy trying to get new customers that they ignore their existing ones. This chasing of 'bad profits' boosts short-term earnings but ultimately burns-out employees and alienates customers.
The Ultimate Question 2.0
It is a theme continued in this updated 2.0 text, released last year, in which Reichheld joins forces with Rob Markey to illustrate the success of the systems he devised in his ground-breaking first edition.
The pair offer examples to show that nice guys can finish first. They illustrate that, by exceeding customers' expectations, a business can grow twice as quickly as its competitors.
Reichheld separates a company's existing customers into two categories: Detractors and Promoters.
While detractors are customers who sully your firm’s reputation and switch to competitors at the earliest opportunity, Reichheld & Markey flip the equation and show how turning customers into promoters can generate good profits and true, sustainable growth.
Ultimately, the text explores the issue of trust between consumer and business. It emphasises the message that if the customer doesn't have trust in a company's people, products and services as well as in its values, they will have little (if anything) to do with it and will certainly not recommend it to others.
"The Ultimate Question 2.0 is full of practical and powerful insights that can help you build a great business that is grounded in customer loyalty. This should become a business classic." – John Donahoe, CEO, eBay.
Having been belatedly wowed by The Innovator’s Dilemma, it was always going to be a tough ask for my next business-related book to match one rated by Steve Jobs as one of his all-time favourites.
But that is exactly what the The Ultimate Question 2.0 did.
It provides a blueprint for long-term growth and success and really is a must read for any business leader.
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