Broken Windows, Broken Business
How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards
by Michael Levine
Do you ever notice dirty storefront windows and worn carpeting in your favorite restaurant?
Do you find quality customer service in short supply? Do you continue to frequent businesses
with poor service or inadequate products? In Broken Windows, Broken Business, author
Michael Levine explains that businesses' broken windows, or flaws, cause customers to
feel neglected, ignored, or mistreated.
Levine clearly outlines the problems of well-known businesses and the broken windows
that lead to their path of deterioration. Businesses that ignore their broken windows
lose their customers and revenue. Do you remember Kmart's blue-light specials? Customers
found great bargains and enjoyed the race across the store. Do you know what pulled the
plug on the blue-light? The answer might surprise you. Do your children beg for the newest
Happy Meal toy? How many times did you get the advertised toy? McDonald's restaurants
display numerous broken windows including missing toys, dirty restrooms, and lackluster
Successful businesses fix broken windows or anticipate them so they do not get broken.
What do the Nordstrom piano and Ikea's Ball Room have in common? A simplistic answer is
that both companies understand their customers' needs. How did a search engine become
a verb? Did you Google today? Sometimes, a business needs to make small changes. Solutions
may include replacing worn carpeting or firing an ineffective staff member.
Broken Windows, Broken Business is based on a criminology theory. A house with
a broken window gives the perception of high criminal activities and highlights the neighborhood's
apathy. Ignoring businesses' broken windows shows similar apathy. Levine demonstrates
that every aspect of a business needs obsessive and compulsive attention. His theory
delves beyond the axiom that the customer is always right. Reading from my Sociology
background and as a potential business owner, I loved the explanations, research, and
well-written advice. Now, I leave places with a judgment of "too many broken windows"
or "no broken windows there"! Levine covers failures and successes of different owners
and from storefronts to Internet businesses. Owners of all businesses should devour the
steps in Broken Windows, Broken Business to ensure their windows stay intact!