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

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

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by Steve Curtin

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Great customer service is rare. In fact, one survey found that while 80 percent of companies described themselves as delivering “superior” service, consumers estimated the number at a mere 8 percent.

The problem, according to service expert Steve Curtin, is actually quite simple. When asked what their work entails,


Great customer service is rare. In fact, one survey found that while 80 percent of companies described themselves as delivering “superior” service, consumers estimated the number at a mere 8 percent.

The problem, according to service expert Steve Curtin, is actually quite simple. When asked what their work entails, most employees list the duties and tasks associated with their position. Very few refer to the true essence of their job, which should be their highest priority—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.

In Delight Your Customers, Curtin reveals three elements common to all exceptional service experiences. He also makes a compelling case that attention needs to shift from monitoring service activities to modeling, recognizing, and reinforcing the behaviors that actually create happy customers, such as expressing genuine interest, offering sincere compliments, sharing unique knowledge, conveying authentic enthusiasm, providing pleasant surprises, and delivering service heroics when needed.

Illustrated with real-world stories and examples, this refreshing guide helps readers everywhere take their customer service from ordinary to extraordinary.

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

Product Details

Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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:

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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Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!