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Clued In

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Clued In

How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again

FT Prentice Hall,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Develop and track the emotional, irrational and psychological clues that will win customers and influence their spending.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Pull up a chair, sit down and take notes in this virtual boardroom. With insider details gathered from decision-makers at major corporations, author Lewis P. Carbone gives you a close-up look at the business of customer satisfaction. From Howard Johnson to Starbucks, the author provides you-are-there clues about the customer marketing strategies that have fueled high-profile successes and caused major failures. Reading this book is like eavesdropping on top executives. The author enhances corporate scenarios with helpful charts and timelines that apply to all businesses, from mom-and-pop enterprises to major conglomerates. The text is occasionally repetitive, but that drives home important points. recommends this solid marketing tool to business owners and managers.


The Inside Information on Consumer Service

Howard Johnson Motels’ iconic, orange slanted roofs provide a fitting metaphor for the ups and downs of the consumer service industry. On the upside, the ground-breaking HoJo chain represented an important milestone in the hospitality industry from the 1950s through the 1970s. Its calling cards of consistency, comfort, cleanliness and many flavors of ice cream sparked today’s hospitality franchise industry. But what happened to those trademark roofs?

Failure to pay attention to customer service stalled Howard Johnson - once a symbol of "clued-in" consumer-oriented companies. The chain made a fatal U-turn during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Struggling with profitability, executives cut costs with reduced amenities, right down to fewer ice cream flavors. This hurt the chain’s value to motorists. HoJos became a dinosaur that gobbled its own customer service eggs. Ultimately, competitive service players, such as Marriott, eclipsed its corporate flag. Read the warning on the orange roofs: consumers will abandon you if you abandon consumer service.

The Starbucks Experience

In contrast, Starbucks’ rise provides a crisp...

About the Author

Lewis P. Carbone is founder and chief executive officer of Experience Engineering, a consulting firm with a client roster that includes a variety of major corporations.

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