Review of Raving Fans - A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service
By Avil Beckford
Shortly after I started reading this book, I had to shut up my inner critic and open myself up to the lessons. Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles present Raving Fans as a parable. The book starts off with the president of a company telling the new area manager that the company was built on customer service, and that the three preceding area managers didn't understand that, and that's why they were no longer with the organization. Each of those three preceding area managers lasted less than a year in the job. This fact made it difficult for me to understand why the new area manager, knowing this, would take off with his Fairy Godmother, Charlie (a man) to play golf.
To succeed in business, you have to create Raving Fans - satisfied customers are no longer enough. To deliver Raving Fan Service, you have to look after the customers' needs whenever possible, be consistent in delivering the service, promise more and deliver more than you promise, and be ready to change direction when the vision changes because customers' need and want change all the time. There are three secrets to creating Raving Fans - Decide what you want, discover what the customer wants and deliver the vision plus one percent.
Decide what you want: When you decide what you want, you must create a vision of perfection centered on the customer. This is your perception of perfection. You do this by visualizing the entire customer service experience. What does perfection look like? You live out your business fantasy by deciding what you want, and creating a vision of perfection centered on the moment the customer uses the product.
Discover what the customer wants: To find out what your customers' vision is, simply ask them, and listen to what they say and don't say. Understanding your vision allows you to better understand your customers' vision. And if your customers' vision is very different from yours - that is, the gap is too wide, you may have to stop servicing that customer. You cannot be everything to everybody.
Deliver the vision plus one percent: Be consistent - consistently meet expectations. To be consistent you must have systems in place within your organization. Every organization that delivers excellent customer service has systems in place, and a training program to entrench those systems into the heart and soul of the company. These systems are only guidelines, and you have to be flexible enough to alter the guidelines to better serve your customers. Once you are able to deliver consistent service, ongoing improvement is a must. The plus one percent is to keep you moving ahead and focused beyond your vision.
Six Great Ideas
- All good customer service is a result of nifty systems
- Constantly strive to improve what you have decided to achieve
- Most customers have a focus - you have to find that focus and then mine it for information
- Customers count on you to do what you say you will do
- You can make big changes in almost anything, or achieve great things in your life by improving or changing by one percent. Things can't help but improve if you keep at it one percent at a time
- Customers have needs beyond the need of the company's product, whether it comes in a box or is a service. People need to feel like they belong to a group - they need to feel that they are important, and that what they do, think, and say truly matters
I recommend Raving Fans because it's an easy read - it takes less that two hours to digest the information. Suppress your inner critic if you are a logical person and allow the parable to unfold so that you can learn the simple lessons.
Avil Beckford, Chief Invisible Mentor, writer and researcher with over 15 years of experience is the published author of Tales of People Who Get It and its companion workbook Journey to Getting It. Subscribe to the Invisible Mentor Blog http://theinvisiblementor.com for great information to ignite your hidden genius, and explore the Resources page for free white papers and an e-book.
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