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Review: Reach: Cultivate Customer Loyalty and Reap Intel by Ellen Wunder

★★★★½ Reach: Cultivate Customer Loyalty and Reap Intel

Ellen Wunder is a customer outreach specialist who knows how to connect with clients and make and keep them happy. She shares this knowledge with readers in this informative and very readable book.

Part business guide, part psychology manual, Reach will teach management and sales and customer service teams lots of things they probably didn’t know they needed to know. It is filled with advice and insight for anyone who is interested in doing a better job of understanding and getting along with the people they deal with everyday, not just customers. If taken seriously, this book will help you in your relationships with colleagues, sales clerks, and family members as well as customers.

Wunder shares her experiences candidly, describing with humor and insight stories about her early struggles, mistakes, and lessons learned. The anecdotes (and there are many in this book) are incorporated smoothly and are almost always personal. You won’t have to slog through those too-oft told business anecdotes, and the quotations sprinkled throughout the book are surprisingly fresh. Reach is often funny and thoroughly readable. One of the more delightful things about this book is that Wunder, a wife and mother as well as a business expert, draws not only on her experiences in sales and customer service, she also shares experiences and insights she gained while raising her family. The two worlds are not nearly as different as you might think, and applying to one the lessons learned from the other can make you more effective in both worlds.

Reach offers many quite detailed ideas, suggestions, and often very specific how-tos (and how-not-tos), but keeps coming back to the essential message which is that if you are going to have any success at all with your customers, you must develop empathy with them, learn to listen.

The book is loaded with very practical and actionable advice: How to plug the five major Loyalty Leaks™; how to get through to customers in a world saturated with electronic communication; how to get customers to open up and tell you what’s really on their minds; how to be honest with your customers without offending them (and instead making them loyal for life!). Wunder takes you inside the minds of your customers so that you can see what they are dealing with, how their worlds are organized, and what they really need from you.

But again, the primary message of Reach is: If you are going to make your customers happy and keep them loyal, you have to have empathy, and really connect with them. You must listen as much as you talk, and, as Wunder says, always remember that “Business owners long to be Reached.” When your approach to your customers is all about your customers before it is about your product or service, you develop real relationships. And developing real relationships is the key to good customer service.

It seems simple, and it is, but it is also more difficult than it sounds. As far as I can tell, empathy is a surprisingly overlooked idea in most businesses. This book has the potential to create some much-needed change in the business world, and if I don’t miss my guess, in personal lives as well. This is a very well-written, useful, and quietly powerful book. It deserves to be read. If you are involved in business-to-business sales or customer service, it could change your approach, and maybe change your life. If you are in another field, it might change your life anyway.

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★★★★½ Ellen Wunder is a customer outreach specialist who knows how to connect with clients and make and keep them happy. She shares this knowledge with readers in this informative and very readable book. Part business guide, part psychology manual, Reach will teach management and sales and customer service teams lots of things they probably didn’t know they needed to know. It is filled with advice and insight for anyone who is interested in doing a better job of understanding and getting along with the people they deal with everyday, not just customers. If taken seriously, this book will help…

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