Washington Post 03/05/06
"How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" That simple question, it turns out, may be the most powerful tool you have in assuring the long-run growth and profitability of your company, says Fred Reichheld, a former Bain consultant who has been writing convincingly about customer loyalty for a decade. In The Ultimate Question (HBS), Reichheld draws the distinction between unsustainable bad profits, which are generally the result of taking advantage of customers in some way, and self-reinforcing good profits, which come about because delighted and satisfied customers keep coming back, bringing their friends with them. He uses a few case studies and a succinct set of recommendations to show how any company, of any size, can build a successful business around asking the "ultimate" question and responding to the answers. Among management books, this one's a keeper.