Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary

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Advance Praise for Delight Your Customers

Delight Your Customers goes right to the soul of what business is all about—a special connection with customers. Curtin reveals compelling principles and crafts poignant stories that can turn the light back on in the spirit of all who serve. A must-read book for anyone seeking a wake-up call to greatness and a powerful path to extraordinary.”

Chip R. Bell, co-author, Managing Knock Your Socks Off ...

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Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary

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Advance Praise for Delight Your Customers

Delight Your Customers goes right to the soul of what business is all about—a special connection with customers. Curtin reveals compelling principles and crafts poignant stories that can turn the light back on in the spirit of all who serve. A must-read book for anyone seeking a wake-up call to greatness and a powerful path to extraordinary.”

Chip R. Bell, co-author, Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service

“In Delight Your Customers, Steve Curtin reveals seven simple, concrete, and observable ways that people can apply immediately to provide exceptional customer service. Good stuff!”

John G. Miller, author of Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional

“Steve has done an extraordinary job capturing the essence of providing exceptional customer service. He examines the role of leadership, shared values, and purpose that guide staff behavior, offering vivid examples and case studies that are energizing and applicable to any business that competes on service globally.”

Mark Conklin, General Manager, JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong

When asked what their work entails, most employees list the duties or tasks associated with their job roles. Very few refer to the true essence of their job, their highest priority at work: to create delighted customers who will be less price sensitive, have higher repurchase rates, and enthusiastically recommend the company or brand to others. Without this customer focus, all that exists is a transaction—and transactional service does not make a lasting positive impression or inspire loyalty.

Delight Your Customers reveals three truths common to all exceptional customer service experiences and presents seven behaviors that, when demonstrated by employees, distinguish extraordinary customer service from the ordinary transactional customer service to which consumers have become accustomed.

Illustrated with real-world stories and more than 200 examples from a variety of industries, this book is a resource that will help readers everywhere take their customer service from ordinary to extraordinary!

Steve Curtin spent 20 years with Marriott International. He now runs his own customer service consulting firm, Steve Curtin, Customer Enthusiast! He lives in Denver, Colorado. You can reach Steve at

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Consultant Curtin offers a cheerful though obvious jaunt through the basics of customer service. Great customer service isn’t a Herculean task, he notes; people don’t want the wheel reinvented—they want solid, courteous service. To get there, managers should focus on helping employees understand the difference between the two sides of their jobs: job function (the daily tasks of work) and job essence (the true priorities of the job). Job function, in other words, is “sweep the store”; job essence is “pay attention to detail.” Customer service must be made the most important aspect of each employee’s job. Curtin uses case studies to illuminate his process for reaching those all-important repeat purchasers who provide positive word of mouth: express genuine interest, offer sincere and specific compliments, share unique knowledge, convey authentic enthusiasm, use appropriate humor, provide pleasant surprises, and deliver service heroics. While his approach is solid—personalize your service to each customer, and treat customers like guests in your home—the content is slim and unoriginal, and anyone seeking the skills to provide excellent customer service will likely already understand his advice. Agent: Michael Snell, Michael Snell Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher

"If you are serious about elevating the level of service in your organization, this is your book...Read it and begin your journey from ordinary to extraordinary." --9InchMarketing

"... written from a fresh point of view..packed with a lot of details and comparisons to help you understand what is ordinary and what is extraordinary." --CXJourney

"If you want to delight your customers, then the new book Delight Your Customers is a must-read for you and your employees." --Eric Jacobson On Management And Leadership

“…great new book called Delight Your Customers.The author talks about great customer service, how important it is, and how to deliver it. You really should pick it up." --PCB007

“…must-read for small or mega-businesses who want to offer such amazing service to their customers or clients that they will be more than delighted to come back again...”

“The age of service enlightenment has arrived with Steve Curtin’s Delight Your Customers.” --Ken Shelton, Sales and Service Excellence

"This is a book that every customer service professional should read and every manager should model.” --Portland Book Review

Customer Service Newsletter Best Customer Service Books of 2013

Customer Service Newsletter’s Best Customer Service Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814432808
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 484,172
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

STEVE CURTIN spent 20 years with Marriott International. He now runs his own customer service consulting firm, Steve Curtin, Customer Enthusiast!

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction Years ago, I worked in New York City with an English woman named Karen who had a unique work history. During graduate school in England, she had worked on an assembly line in a factory that manufactured dolls. Karen's job role was to attach doll heads to each of the torsos as they passed by on a long conveyer belt. As she described it, as the torso approached, she would lift a doll head from a large bin, pop the head on the torso, and twist it firmly until it locked into place. One by one, Karen would lift, pop, and twist the dolls' heads into place--each one like the last one--until her quota was met or her shift ended. The next day, she would return and repeat the process over and over again: lift, pop, twist . . . lift, pop, twist . . . until the end of another workday. I can still hear Karen describing her job duties in her refined British accent: "Leeft, paup, tweest . . . Leeft, paup, tweest . . . Leeft, paup, tweest . . ." To this day, whenever I observe an employee who is simply going through the motions, I'm reminded of Karen's job at the factory. I refer to this demeanor as a factory mentality. Perhaps you too have observed this outward behavior by service industry employees. It's easy to spot, characterized by indifference and a transactional approach to serving customers. Expressionless, robotic behavior devoid of any personality may be permissible in a factory or warehouse environment where there are no signs of real, live, paying customers (as long as certain production quotas and delivery schedules are met). However, in a customer service job role, employee behavior must be different. This is not a book about how to "WOW!" customers by continually surpassing their expectations and exceeding their needs--which is unsustainable. Most people don't want "outrageous" or "over-the-top" customer service at every turn. In everyday service situations, most customers simply want to be acknowledged and appreciated. Delight Your Customers is about doing the little things that convey to customers that they matter and that their business is valued. It's about breaking with routine by consistently providing the "little extras" that leave lasting positive impressions on customers. After all, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little "extra." Part I sets the stage for delighting customers by identifying the two dimensions of every employee's job role and identifying three truths of exceptional customer service. Whether you are new to the service industry or a seasoned veteran, this section will expand your definition of employees' roles and is likely to influence the way you manage service providers. Part II introduces seven concrete behaviors that will enable you to immediately improve the quality of customer service you provide or influence. These seven simple ways to raise customer service from ordinary to extraordinary are natural and intuitive. Rather than offering scripts or a prescriptive acronym that requires employees to be someone they're not, these behaviors encourage employees to be themselves at their best! Part III provides fresh thinking about incorporating your organization's highest priority into existing employee functions so that ­exceptional customer service, however it is defined by your particular organization, occurs consistently rather than being left to chance. Throughout the book, you will see references to customers, clients, guests, shoppers, passengers, patients, members, and more. The lessons in this book will apply, regardless of how you refer to your customers, even if your "customer" is an employee, owner, vendor, or other stakeholder. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that these lessons also apply to the "customers" you serve in your personal life, whether that means a spouse, children, friends, neighbors--even complete strangers. Each chapter concludes with a bulleted summary of key insights to assist you in raising customer service from ordinary to extraordinary, followed by a brief application exercise in which you immediately record top-of-mind ideas about applying lessons from the chapter in your world of work. It's no secret that the customer service quality most of us experience in our daily lives tends to be pretty mediocre. (And sometimes that assessment is being generous.) It's my aspiration to contribute to the conversation about raising customer service quality--and this book is a start. To continue the conversation, I invite you to visit my blog at or email me:
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Table of Contents


Introduction 3

Part One: Function Vs. Essence

Chapter 1—Three Truths of Exceptional Customer Service 9

Exceptional Customer Service Reflects the Essence of

Every Service Industry Employee’s Job Role 11

Exceptional Customer Service Is Always Voluntary 17

Exceptional Customer Service Typically Costs

No More to Deliver than Poor Customer Service 20

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 24

Applying Three Truths of Exceptional Customer Service 26


Part Two: Seven Simple Ways To

Raise Customer Service

Chapter 2—Express Genuine Interest 29

How to Express Genuine Interest 32

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 49

Applying Genuine Interest 52

Chapter 3—Offer Sincere and Specific Compliments 53

Be Attentive to Opportunities to Offer Compliments 54

Factors Influencing the Offering of Compliments 57

How to Offer Sincere and Specific Compliments 59

Recognize Coworkers 64

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 69

Applying Sincere and Specific Compliments 71

Chapter 4—Share Unique Knowledge 73

Unique Knowledge Brings More Value

to the Customer Experience 74

The Benefits of Unique Knowledge 75

How to Share Unique Knowledge 82

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 88

Applying Unique Knowledge 91

Chapter 5—Convey Authentic Enthusiasm 93

The Role of Leadership in Fostering Authentic Enthusiasm 95

How to Convey Authentic Enthusiasm 99

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 108

Applying Authentic Enthusiasm 110

Chapter 6—Use Appropriate Humor 111

When to Use Appropriate Humor 113

When the Use of Humor May Be Inappropriate 123

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 125

Applying Appropriate Humor 126

Chapter 7—Provide Pleasant Surprises 127

How to Provide Pleasant Surprises 129

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 142

Applying Pleasant Surprises 144

Chapter 8—Deliver Service Heroics 145

Two Types of Service Heroics 146

How to Deliver Heroic Service to Solve Customers’ Problems 152

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 161

Applying Service Heroics 163

Part Three: Incorporating Job Essence

Into Job Function

Chapter 9—From Ordinary to Extraordinary 167

Why Ordinary Customer Service Is Common

and Extraordinary Customer Service Is Rare 170

How to Raise Customer Service Quality

from Ordinary to Extraordinary 173

Getting from Ordinary to Extraordinary 186

Incorporating Job Essence into Job Function 188

Index 189

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Having spent 8 years in the hotel industry, I've gone through ma

    Having spent 8 years in the hotel industry, I've gone through many trainings and have read many books on customer service. None of these have come close to being as appropriate and impactful as Mr. Curtin's service message of elevating service from ordinary to extraordinary through 7 simple service behaviors.

    A little over two years ago while working at a hotel in Boston, I had the aboslute pleasure of getting to hear Mr. Curtin speak at an all associate "rally". His message, "Service Elevated" and the service behaviors associated, was so simple and sincere, we eagerly incorporated it into our daily routine at the hotel. The impact was immediate and response was grand. We saw increases in guest satisfaction and our hotel was among the top hotels in guest satisfaction in the country within our brand.

    After having left that successful hotel for one that was in a state of "rebuilding", I started researching Mr. Curtin and "Service Elevated!" and was delighted to find that he had since wrote "Delight Your Customers" and immediately purchased a copy. His book was just as engaging as he was. Thoughtful, fun, encouraging, and entirely appropriate for any customer focused team.

    About 5 pages into the book, I went online to look for any training resources available that I could use to support this message while incorporating into our Front Office. I didn't find anything specific and contacted who I thought was Mr. Curtin's publishers. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Curtin e-mailed me back himself almost immediately! He made time to discuss his service message over the phone with me and went as far as coordinating an order of training materials/posters for us. WOW!!! All the while, he so flawlessly executed each of his 7 service behaviors. I was blown away.

    Our Front Office is now in the process of rolling out a service program based around his 7 service behaviors and the rest of our hotel department heads are in the process of reading his book. Each of them is just as enthusiastic as I am about facilitating our service program based on his ideas.

    I absolutely recommend any service industry associates/leaders read this book and encourage you even more to apply it!

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