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Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2001
Kenneth Blanchard continues his trend of writing easy-to-read books with BIG ideas for making your business better. Raving Fans is a book of stories relating how fictional companies have created an environment of delivering awesome customer service. A guy that has just been put in a managment position requiring a turnaround goes on a fictional trip with his "angel" to visit businesses that have figured out their vision and their system to deliver customer service extraordinary. Based on three simple principles (Decide, Discover, Deliver), each company has created a group of Raving Fans (not just customers, but fans) who wouldn't consider shopping anywhere else for what one of these companies offers. Within each story is other nuggets of common sense and good ideas that can be implemented in any company that has customers and wants to create fans. We required our store managers to read the book and each created a list ranging from 20-40 points that they can put into effect at their stores to improve customer service. This is a simple, must-read for every business owner and manager.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2002
This book is written in "parable" or story telling format and is different to read for most people. If you have read the best seller One Minute Manager or Leadership and the One Minute Manager it is written in comparable form. I have read both of the prior books.
First off, the book basically talks about customer service (vs. goal setting & reward/punishment in the one minute manager) and how companies need to offer exemplary service to create Raving Fans, as the authors title it. I was simply hoping to get one good idea/thought out of the book and I did. It was EXCEPTIONALLY easy to read, as I read the 132 pages in about 2.5 - 3 hours total. The book has a lot of dead space and big font so you aren't getting tons of "filler." The authors try to focus on one business issue and address it succinctly.
This book is good and bad depending on what you expect to get out of it.
It is good because (1) anyone can read this book (2) customer service is horrible in today's environment so it is timely (3) The book provides great illustrations and (4) The authors get the point across.
Having said that, they never talk about the business implications of what the characters do. They say that customers love their service or product but they negate to talk about the cost implications. Business is about making money, not being loved by everyone. I love great service and all the frills but, at the end of the day, I have to make it worth the investment to the business owner.
Yes, our economy is very much about selling an experience to someone, but there are cost implications to having carpeted floors in grocery stores and full service gas stations that don't price their gas more expensively. There are implications to buying a product at another store and selling it at the exact same price to your customer (what about the price of labor?) In that case you are actually LOSING money, except that the customer is happy.....
At the end of the day profits pay for the labor, rent, etc. Businesses have to make money and this part is really neglected in this book.
I love that they focus on the customer and finding out what their needs are but they negate to mention where people are in the food chain. What does the customer value the most? Is your business positioned to offer it? Do you offer headaches or tons of value to the customer are a few questions I think of daily?
If anyone is looking for a great business book check out The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker as it is the best book I have read on management and the role of managers, businesses and individuals within a business. Your money and time would be better spent on that book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2004
This book is a great read and a resonable explantion of the importance of customer service in any business. It is especially great if you are new to the world of work and/or customer service. Young students can gain a great deal from this book, from how to treat customers, find customers, knowing what drives customers, to how employees should be treated by a supervisor and the company that employs them. In response to Mike from Utah...exactly who do you think works in the customer service industry? The vast majority of American service providers are minimum wage earners, and, yes, some like their jobs. Employers have to keep them motivated somehow. This book not only provides a peek at how to do that, but, in typical Blanchard style, is a lighthearted, easy to understand read. The book says nothing about "automation employees". Quite the opposite...giving your employees the authority to make the decisions necessary to help a customer frees them from that automation. If you learn anything from reading this book...it is just that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In RAVING FANS, authors Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Knowles
concentrated on the importance of delighting customers . . . in GUNG
HO!, they focused on how companies could become the "employer of
choice" and attract the best employees . . . I liked both those
books and thus looked forward to listening to the taped version of
BIG BUCKS! . . . this third book promised me in its subtitle "How
to Make Serious Money for Both You and Your Company," something
that could be done by focusing my time and energy.
Like other works by Blanchard and Knowles, the points are
presented in a parable . . . here, we're introduced to a man struggling
to make ends meet . . . he goes on a journey to discover the secret
to becoming rich and meets three wise (and successful) people
who present simple truths that can be applied to virtually any
situation.
I liked the above fact; i.e., that when listening, I found myself
thinking that this stuff makes sense--and I should and could
apply it to my situation . . . there's nothing overly earth-shattering,
yet I should add that it got me thinking . . . and it made sense.
Also making sense was the conclusion, in which the authors
reviewed the simple tests that should have been learned from
either reading or listening:
The test of joy . . . you can't make money unless you're having fun.
The test of purpose . . .you can't make money unless making money
is more important than having fun.
The test of creativity . . . incomes, less expenses = profit.
And, lastly, there's perpetual prosperity . . . which comes to those
who help others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A major problem with most books on management processes is that that do too little to focus on how to make large amounts of progress beyond what is now done. Raving Fans is a big success in providing you with simple instructions for making large strides toward achievable perfection.
Imagining perfection is a critical first step to improvement, yet most people have never thought about what that could mean. Then testing that perfection with customers (and potential customers) must be done to be sure that there is a valid opportunity, and to be able to understand customers' ideas about achievable perfection. Then attaching the idea of continuous improvement toward that vision is also valuable, and useful. There are plenty of practical tips about how to do each part, which is key to making this book so valuable.
One of the reasons that I enjoy writing reviews about books on-line is that I can find a Raving Fans that agrees so much with my own perspective and research. This book will quickly get you past your Psychology of Disbelief, Bureaucracy, Procrastination, Communiation, and Ugly Duckling stalls.
Good for Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles . . . and good for you, too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2002
The new Area Manager is wondering on what could be done to retain his customers and his job. Just then a fairy godmother "Charlie" appears and takes him around to businesses that create raving fans through exemplary customer service. Let us take the case of a visit to a departmental store. Our Area Manager is looking for a book to be gifted to this wife on her birthday. Upon arrival he and Charlie are greeted by the sales staff who pin a complimentary white carnation on their suits. The store has a superb play area for children. The rest rooms are glittering and the towels are neat and crisp. The book he is looking for is not available at this store but the lady at the books section dispatches her assistant to procure it from a neighboring shop, gift wraps it and hands it over to her customer - at no extra cost. Our Area Manager is amazed. How can they afford to do this? Pat comes the reply from the man who runs the business - How can you afford NOT to do this?.
Charlie takes our Area Manager for golf in between visits to several such places of excellence. They come up with three simple but important principles to create RAVING FANS.
This book applies to all businesses. Take the case of the IT industry. Technocrats who focus more on technology than on their customers staff this industry. Till recently, thanks to the global shortage of well-trained professionals in this area, a streak of arrogance and sharp edges were common traits. "We are knowledge Workers - Stock Options and hefty salaries are our birthright" was a common belief in this tribe.
Suddenly, the IT industry finds itself swamped by competition and surplus people. Many companies whose stock prices pierced the roof a couple of years ago find themselves in Chapter 11. Customers have won again. They now exercise their choice and demand value for money- not just tech talk by smart yuppies. As in any other industry, only those companies that ensure stellar customer service at all levels of the Organization will be able to succeed. To all those who need to understand these core values I recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2002
The new Area Manager is wondering on what could be done to retain his customers and his job. Just then a fairy godmother "Charlie" appears and takes him around to businesses that create raving fans through exemplary customer service. Let us take the case of a visit to a departmental store. Our Area Manager is looking for a book to be gifted to this wife on her birthday. Upon arrival he and Charlie are greeted by the sales staff who pin a complimentary white carnation on their suits. The store has a superb play area for children. The rest rooms are glittering and the towels are neat and crisp. The book he is looking for is not available at this store but the lady at the books section dispatches her assistant to procure it from a neighboring shop, gift wraps it and hands it over to her customer - at no extra cost. Our Area Manager is amazed. How can they afford to do this? Pat comes the reply from the man who runs the business - How can you afford NOT to do this?.
Charlie takes our Area Manager for golf in between visits to several such places of excellence. They come up with three simple but important principles to create RAVING FANS.
This book applies to all businesses. Take the case of the IT industry. Technocrats who focus more on technology than on their customers staff this industry. Till recently, thanks to the global shortage of well-trained professionals in this area, a streak of arrogance and sharp edges were common traits. "We are knowledge Workers - Stock Options and hefty salaries are our birthright" was a common belief in this tribe.
Suddenly, the IT industry finds itself swamped by competition and surplus people. Many companies whose stock prices pierced the roof a couple of years ago find themselves in Chapter 11. Customers have won again. They now exercise their choice and demand value for money- not just tech talk by smart yuppies. As in any other industry, only those companies that ensure stellar customer service at all levels of the Organization will be able to succeed. To all those who need to understand these core values I recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2002
Raving fans is the story of a manager that finds himself in charge of a failing department. He is given the position with the understanding that he HAS to fix things, and fix them quickly. To the rescue comes his "fairy godmother" Charlie-a guardian angel with a penchant for golf and a great deal of information about how to make customers more than satisfied.
Through this parable the manager and the reader learn there are three rules for making your customers "Raving Fans". First, decide what you want. Second, discover what the customer wants. Third, deliver plus one.
Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles have done an excellent job of boiling down excellent customer service to its essence. The rules are easy to read and simple to understand. But, like most things of consequence they will take time to master. This book is well worth the hour or two it will take to read.
However, delivering excellent service is only part of the equation. To have a truly profitable well-run organization you also need to have excellent leadership, a highly motivated team, and value-driven goals. While this book touches on these subjects it certainly doesn't do them justice. For a clearer picture I would also recommend reading "Gung-Ho!", "Leadership By The Book", and "The One Minute Manager" -all part of Ken Blanchard's library of leadership materials. All of them are quick reads, and amazingly informative. Together they create an excellent picture of how a successful, value-centered organization should be run.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2001
Ken Blanchard's books were recommended to me by a former employer. Because my position included customer service, I purchased RAVING FANS. The book takes a lighthearted look at the serious subject of customer service. It's easy to follow and contains valuable advice. It was good enough to be recommeneded to a co-worker, who has since gone into business for herself. While reading, I realized what wonderful service I receive from waitresses, my hairdresser, and my mechanic. These people could have read this book from cover to cover. I think that readers will be pleasantly surprised to recognize people in their everyday life who have made their customers into Raving Fans. Unfortunately, the employer who recommended Blanchard to me was not interested in reading the book. He didn't like my implementing Blanchard's suggestions -- despite clients calling and, indeed, RAVING, that the lessons I learned were increasing business. I ultimately left the job, and hope to be able to use he advice in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 1999
A major problem with most books on management processes is that that do too little to focus on how to make large amounts of progress beyond what is now done. RAVING FANS is a big success in providing you with simple instructions for making large strides toward achievable perfection. Imagining perfection is a critical first step to improvement, yet most people have never thought about what that could mean. Then testing that perfection with customers (and potential customers) must be done to be sure that there is a valid opportunity, and to be able to understand customers' ideas about achievable perfection. Then attaching the idea of continuous improvement toward that vision is also valuable, and useful. There are plenty of practical tips about how to do each part, which is key to making this book so valuable. One of the reasons that I enjoy writing reviews about books on-line is that I can find a RAVING FANS that agrees so much with my own perspective and research. This book will quickly get you past your Psychology of Disbelief, Bureaucracy, Procrastination, Communiation, and Ugly Duckling stalls. Good for Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles . . . and good for you, too!
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