Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

Overview


Most companies treat service as a low-priority business operation, keeping it out of the spotlight until a customer complains. Then service gets to make a brief appearance – for as long as it takes to calm the customer down and fix whatever foul-up jeopardized the relationship.

In Uncommon Service, Frances Frei and Anne Morriss show how, in a volatile economy where the old rules of strategic advantage no longer hold true, service must become a competitive weapon, not a ...

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Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

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Overview


Most companies treat service as a low-priority business operation, keeping it out of the spotlight until a customer complains. Then service gets to make a brief appearance – for as long as it takes to calm the customer down and fix whatever foul-up jeopardized the relationship.

In Uncommon Service, Frances Frei and Anne Morriss show how, in a volatile economy where the old rules of strategic advantage no longer hold true, service must become a competitive weapon, not a damage-control function. That means weaving service tightly into every core decision your company makes.

The authors reveal a transformed view of service, presenting an operating model built on tough choices organizations must make:

• How do customers define “excellence” in your offering? Is it convenience? Friendliness? Flexible choices? Price?

• How will you get paid for that excellence? Will you charge customers more? Get them to handle more service tasks themselves?

• How will you empower your employees to deliver excellence? What will your recruiting, selection, training, and job design practices look like? What about your organizational culture?

• How will you get your customers to behave? For example, what do you need to do to get them to treat your employees with respect? Do you need to make it easier for them to use new technology?

Practical and engaging, Uncommon Service makes a powerful case for a new and systematic approach to service as a means of boosting productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The book was uncommonly excellent. Very straightforward and to the point. Frei and Morriss uncover four basic truths about customer service, discuss the important ingredient of culture and provide guidance on how companies can scale to get bigger...this might be the best book I’ve ever read on achieving service excellence.” — Stan Phelps, CustomerThink (customerthink.com)

“This book is a practical guide for leaders who want to use service to strategically differentiate their companies from the competition.” — Jeff Toister, CustomerThink (customerthink.com)

“Anne Morriss and Harvard Business School Professor Frances Frei make the counterintuitive, but compelling argument that true success for service businesses requires that you give up on being perfect; that you make some tradeoffs.” — Business Insider (businessinsider.com)

“Morriss and Frei have a powerful and surprising answer…” — Forbes.com

“In this upbeat and highly readable book, the authors isolate four “service truths” that companies must understand…” — BizEd magazine

“The book is full of case studies showing how companies have harnessed their strengths but cut corners elsewhere, in pursuit of the ultimate goal: excellent service.” — South Africa Financial Mail

“I found Uncommon Service to be a refreshing, frank and honest look at how any organization can increase profitability, satisfaction and competitive advantage by delivering consistently outstanding service.” — American Express Open Forum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422133316
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 140,474
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Frances Frei is UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management at Harvard Business School, where she developed the school’s successful Managing Service Operations course. Anne Morriss is the Managing Director of the Concire Leadership Institute, a consulting firm that helps leaders to surface and remove performance barriers.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction If This is a Service Economy, Why am I Still on Hold? 1

Chapter 1 Truth Number 1: You Can't be Good at Everything 13

Chapter 2 Truth Number 2: Someone has to Pay for it 55

Chapter 3 Truth Number 3: It's Not your Employees' Fault 87

Chapter 4 Truth Number 4: You Must Manage your Customers 119

Chapter 5 Now Multiply it all by Culture 157

Chapter 6 Getting Bigger 187

Conclusion 223

Notes 227

Index 233

About the Authors 245

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 21, 2012

    Great read!

    If you are in any way, shape or form involved in delivering or designing any type of service for your customers, or your clients' customers, then you owe it to yourself to spend some money on this book. Clear, engaging and with lots of insight this is the book you should read first before trying to deliver a service. This is the book you should read before you go out to re-engage your customers when they start complaining about your service. This is the book you should understand before trying to enforce employee behavior that is not conductive to great service delivery.

    Great because it is written in clear, plain language; no technical jargon, no complicated terms. Easy to read (less than 250 pages) and full of great ideas. Very recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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