05 Dec 2008

New Book Reveals How Customer and Employee Ownership Adds Business Value


BOSTON — Hundreds of large organizations worldwide have used the groundbreaking service profit chain to improve business performance. Now, The Ownership Quotient (Harvard Business Press), a new book written by Harvard Business School Professors James Heskett and W. Earl Sasser, along with Joe Wheeler, executive director of the Service Profit Chain Institute, reveals the next generation of the chain: customer and employee "owners." The book follows on Heskett and Sasser's previous works, The Service Profit Chain and The Value Profit Chain - both coauthored with former HBS professor Leonard Schlesinger.

Employee-owners exhibit such enthusiasm for their organizations that they infect countless customers with similar satisfaction, loyalty, and dedication. Customer-owners are in turn so satisfied with their experience that they relate their stories to others, persuade them to try your product, and provide constructive criticism and new product ideas.

In The Ownership Quotient, case studies from a wide range of companies including Harrah's Entertainment, ING Direct, Build-a-Bear Workshop, and Wegmans Food Markets bring home the central principle of employee and customer engagement - and showcase ways to raise the "ownership quotient" among both employees and customers.

In the book, readers learn to:

  • identify customer-owners;
  • consistently exceed customer-owners' expectations in ways they truly appreciate; and
  • foster, and grow the ownership quotient throughout a company.

The Ownership Quotient details how an organization that learns how to cultivate an ownership attitude creates a self-reinforcing relationship between customers and front-line employees. The lifetime value of a customer-owner can be equivalent to that of more than one hundred typical customers; and that makes the lifetime value of an employee who can promote customer ownership priceless.

About the Authors

Professor Emeritus James Heskett
Photo: Stuart Cahill

James L. Heskett is a Baker Foundation Professor, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School. He is a founding partner of The Service Profit Chain Institute and a member of the Board of Directors of Limited Brands. Among his publications are more than a dozen books, including co-authorship of The Value Profit Chain; The Service Profit Chain; and Corporate Culture and Performance. A member of the faculty of the Harvard Business School since 1965, Heskett has taught courses in marketing, business logistics, the management of service operations, business policy, service management and general management.

Baker Foundation Professor
W. Earl Sasser
Photo: Stuart Cahill

W. Earl Sasser is a Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1969 and has taught a variety of courses in the MBA program including Production and Operations Management, Decision Making and Ethical Values, The Operating Manager, and Service Management. Sasser developed the School's first course on the management of service operations in 1972 and currently teaches in the Program for Leadership Development, an executive education program he co-founded in 2005. Sasser has coauthored several books in the field of service management including Service Breakthroughs: Changing the Rules of the Game; Management of Service Operations; The Service Management Course; The Service Profit Chain; and The Value Profit Chain.

Joe Wheeler is the Executive Director of The Service Profit Chain Institute, a Boston-based consulting firm dedicated to helping companies achieve better performance by improving the linkage between employees, customers and profits. Founded by Wheeler, Heskett, and Sasser, the Institute partners with companies to bring the concepts associated with The Service Profit Chain to life in their own organizations.

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.