Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service

by Ken Blanchard, Sheldon Bowles


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"Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans."

This, in a nutshell, is the advice given to a new Area Manager on his first day—in an extraordinary business book that will help everyone, in every kind of organization or business, deliver stunning customer service and achieve miraculous bottom-line results.

Written in the parable style of The One Minute Manager, Raving Fans uses a brilliantly simple and charming story to teach how to define a vision, learn what a customer really wants, institute effective systems, and make Raving Fan Service a constant feature—not just another program of the month.

America is in the midst of a service crisis that has left a wake of disillusioned customers from coast to coast. Raving Fans includes startling new tips and innovative techniques that can help anyone create a revolution in any workplace—and turn their customers into raving, spending fans.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780688123161
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/19/1993
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 43,603
Product dimensions: 5.78(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

Ken Blanchard, PhD, is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world. He has co-authored 60 books, including Raving Fans and Gung Ho! (with Sheldon Bowles). His groundbreaking works have been translated into over 40 languages and their combined sales total more than 21 million copies. In 2005 he was inducted into Amazon's Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time. The recipient of numerous leadership awards and honors, he is cofounder with his wife, Margie, of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, a leading international training and consulting firm.

Sheldon Bowles lives in Winnipeg, Canada, and is president of Ode to Joy Limited, chairman of Precision Metalcraft Inc., and an associate of the Exchange Group. A noted speaker, author, and businessperson, he serves on several boards and is currently busy with new projects: a chain of full-service car washes and three forthcoming books, High Five!, Kingdomality, and Road to Riches, all coauthored with Ken Blanchard.

Read an Excerpt

Panic. Palpitations and Panic. He was aware of sweaty palms and cold feet as he wandered around his new office, the Area Manager's office.

He had expected to feel the responsibility of the new job resting heavily. What he hadn't counted on was the President's advice.
Thinking to prove himself worthy of the new position, he had promised the President to drive for quality in his department. Total quality.

"Great idea. Too narrow a focus," the President had told him abruptly. "Quality is how well our product works in relation to the customer's need. That's just one aspect of customer service. Customer service covers all the customer's needs and expectations."
Then she'd added in a quiet but firm voice, "Remember, this company was built on customer service. If those others had understood that they'd still be here. I trust you'll do better."

The Area Manager knew that "those others" were the three Area Managers who had cycled through the office before him. Each lasting about eight months. The Area Manager also realized that "those others" had all known more about customer service than he did. He wondered what chance he had to hold the job.

"The only positive thing about this panic," he thought, "is that it shows I'm in touch with reality."
The Area Manager eased himself down into his chair. He closed his eyes and leaned back, wondering how long it might be before he too was ejected and joined "those others".

As he thought about his future and customer service, he heard a small, attention-getting cough. He decided it must be his imagination and kept his eyes closed.

A second, louder, more persistent cough caused him tolook up. At first he saw nothing. Then he realized a man was sitting on the couch. A stranger wearing sport clothes, and beside him, a golf bag.

"Ah, there you are," said the stranger as if he had just discovered the Area Manager, who, shocked to find anyone in his office, managed to stammer, "Who are you? I mean, what are you doing here?"

"I'm your Fairy Godmother," the stranger replied seriously. Then he added brightly, "As for what I'm doing here, I'm here to show you the three magic secrets of creating Raving Fans, the ultimate in customer service.

"Also, I'd hoped we might get in a round or two of golf. The heavenly links are so crowded you have to book at least a month in advance," he added with an apologetic shrug, gesturing toward the golf clubs.

"I'm not in touch with reality," the Area Manager thought. "I've already gone off the deep end."

"No, you haven't," said the stranger, reading the Area Manager's mind. "Nothing is more real than your Fairy Godmother. You'll want to remember that."

"You can't be my Fairy Godmother," the Area Manager challenged, "you're a man." That obvious fact, he decided, was irrefutable evidence that he was dreaming.

"I know it's a bit unusual, but I came in on the quota."

"The quota?"

"Yes," confirmed the stranger. "You see, Fairy Godmothering is traditionally a female job and so, under the Celestial Equal Opportunities legislation, the job has been assigned a quota. When I applied I was snapped right up."

The Area Manager gave his head a sharp shake as if to drive the stranger away.

"Hi, still here," said the stranger gleefully, lifting his wrist and wiggling his fingers in greeting.

"Well, then, do you have a name, Fairy Godmother?" the Area Manager asked.

"A name? Yes, I keep forgetting about names. Here people usually call me Charlie. Let's make it Charlie, shall we?"

"Fine. Charlie it will be," said the Area Manager, wondering how he would get this nut case out of his office. "You're here about customer service, then?"

"You could say that," said Charlie. "Although, in another way, I am customer service. It's all a bit tricky," smiled Charlie, "depending on how you approach it."

"Of course," the Area Manager said in a tone of voice most people reserve to humor the very young or the very old. "So where do we begin?"


Successful organizations have one common central focus: customers. It doesn't matter if it's a business, a professional practice, a hospital, or a government agency, success comes to those, and only those, who are obsessed with looking after customers.

This wisdom isn't a secret. Mission statements, annual reports, posters on the wall, seminars, and even television programs all proclaim the supremacy of customers. But in the words of Shakespeare, this wisdom is "more honoured in the breach than the observance." In fact, generally speaking, customer service, in a word, stinks.

And no wonder. Look at how we've been training our managers. When I was in college, we took courses in marketing and consumer behavior. The assumption was that the public was a mindless group of buyers and that with proper advertising and promotion, products could be produced en masse and sold to naive buyers. Unfortunately, as I tour the country speaking, I find too many young managers still think this way. Advertising, product positioning, and marketshare pricing strategies are all important. But when all is said and done, goods aren't sold; products and services are bought.

Since most service is awful, America is ripe for a revolution. Although we may not be following the mission statements and wall posters, the recognition of the need for customer service is there. More and more, managers in individual organizations are zeroing in on customers, and their success stands as a beacon for others. Five to eight years ago, the quality wave was about to break over us. We discovered quality isn't enough. Today the customer-service wave is swelling larger than the quality wave, and whenit fully hits, those not prepared will be washed into history.

What success I've enjoyed in business, with my books, my public speaking, and the many volunteer community organizations I've worked for, has been due to looking after customers-seeing them as individuals and trying to understand all their needs. I wish I'd been able to read Raving Fans years ago. This book is Ken Blanchard at his best. And that is very, very good indeed. He and co-author Sheldon Bowles have taken an important, complex subject, peeled back all but the critical core, and set out fundamental truths in a simple, understandable, and enjoyable form. Decide, Discover, and Deliver will become your guideposts, as they have become mine, to creating Raving Fans.

I can't think of two better people to write about this subject than Ken and Sheldon. I have known both of them for well over a decade through ourinvolvement with the Young Presidents' Organization-an educational association of presidents under the age of forty who run companies with more than fifty employees and $5 million in sales. Sheldon and I were members of YPO, and Ken has been a topresource teacher for this group since 1977. Ken has been my writing mentor and the initial "prodder" for me to write How to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. He has an incredible way of making complicated subjects simple and leaving people with gems they can apply immediately. Sheldon, along witha team he would insist be given credit here, built Domo, a full-service retail gasoline business, into a customer-service legend.

Raving Fans may be an easy, fun read, but the message is dead serious. I'll be buying a copy for every single one of my employees at Mackay Envelope Corporation. Those wanting to create Raving Fans and enjoy future success will do likewise.

Customer Reviews

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Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Raving Fans¿ is a fun and easy read. It¿s charming story and review of it¿s lessons leave the reader with an ingrained sense of Blanchard¿s customer service recipe for success to creating ¿Raving Fans¿
Guest More than 1 year ago
A few elementary principles housed in a horribly written fairy tale. Everything about this book, including the three inch margins, points to the fact that these are authors simply trying to make a profit by putting a product on the shelf. Ironically, their book is the antithesis of the standards they pitifully attempt to put forth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm in the Customer Service field and I truely enjoyed this book it has changed the way I perceive all of our Customers. You too will want to have Raving Fans. The book is so interesting, you won't want to put it down.
GaylDasherSmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A revolutionary idea in today's economy...it's not enough to have satisfied customers, you must have raving fans. Told with whimsy of a world hard to imagine now with customer service being almost nonexistent. Nice to pretend, though.
MarthaL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I heard about this book a while back and I felt fortunate when I was able to purchase it used. Several times I had attempted to read it but could not get into to it. When forced to do a big clean up and get rid of access books I flipped through this, one last time. It was just printed text; nothing got my eye until I saw a shield at the top of a page. So that's how chapter heading are handled in this book. Flipping through the pages trying to see what the various subdivisions of the book were I came to another shield, this one at the bottom of the page. It arrested my attention; for it read: DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT. Well obviously this had piqued my curiosity so I sat down a read this rather short book from start to finish. It's a story! I was expecting a textbook. But it in away it was that too. What really caught my attention was the fairy godmother who played golf. What I liked most about the book was the way its ideas were presented in story format so that they really stuck in my mind for me to mull over and over. The subject matter so states the subtitle is customer service. Now that's something we all deal with every day, whether its serving in the library, working in a professional office, a retail estabishment or meeting the needs of friends and family. This fast easy read will inspire and entertain you. And the key concepts that you will learn from reading this will most certainly help you in what ever capacity you serve.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's a compact read and definitely worth that time - also quite entertaining. First, decide what you want. Then discover what your customers want (and deliver it, sometimes having to tell some it's not a fit). Finally, add to the experience in small increments, executing well on one step before reaching further.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since most service is awful, America is ripe for a revolution. Although we may not be following the mission statements and wall posters, the recognition of the need for customer service is there. More and more, managers in individual organizations are zeroing in on customers, and their success stands as a beacon for others. Five to eight years ago, the quality wave was about to break over us. We discovered quality isn't enough. Today the customer-service wave is swelling larger than the quality wave, and whenit fully hits, those not prepared will be washed into history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book had some interesting points for service. It was not well written and was somewhat childish in its plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for everyone...Fast read. Enjoy
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BelindaEllsworth More than 1 year ago
I recently read Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowes. Written as a parable designed to illustrate why the key to greatness in business is developing "raving fans," this book was informative and fun to read. The premise is that "satisfied" customers just aren't good enough! It's so common for us to focus on satisfying our customers and feel that we've done our job, but in a nutshell customer satisfaction is not a very lofty goal - and mere satisfaction doesn't keep customers coming back. The book is written as a story about the newly promoted "Area Manager" and his male fairy godmother, Charlie. Charlie exposes the Area Manager to a number of different successful businesses that are going above and beyond with the services they offer and creating loyal and devoted customers in the process. Think about it: we are so accustomed to mediocre or bad service these days, that we just accept it as the norm. The book does a great job of pointing out that if you think that you're doing a good job for your customers because they're not complaining, you're missing the point. A lot of customers walk away from a bad experience - or a less than satisfactory one - disappointed or unimpressed, but not upset enough to call it to your attention. That really hit home, because I know I've been there. You go to a restaurant, your meal is okay, but the food is cold, or the service is really slow, or you have to go find your server to request your check. Then, as you walk out the door, the manager or host asks, "How was your meal tonight?" and you answer with an unenthusiastic "It was fine, thank you." How likely are you to recommend that restaurant to the friend you bump into later? But, the manager has no idea about the laundry list of things that could be improved. You were satisfied, but you're not going to end up being a force in growing his business. I found the story in the book to be a really interesting way to introduce three critical steps for increasing customer loyalty. You must first decide what you want to do with customers, realizing that you can't be all things to all people and focusing on what you do well. The second step involves discovering what your customers really want within your what. And, finally, you aim to always "Deliver Plus 1 Percent" on your what, which means being consistent and always improving just a little bit. In return, you'll be creating customers who are so thrilled by what you do that they go around bragging about your service and recommending your business to others. Who couldn't use an army of raving fans promoting their services at every turn? The concept is so simple - the book has been around since 1992 and has a solid reputation - but the idea could almost be considered revolutionary. Because the three steps are described in a story, the book doesn't have a lot of very practical step-by-step guidance. But, I did find my mind racing a little bit with new ideas as I read. It was a pretty easy read and there is also a good audio version of the book that could make it even easier to fit into your schedule. I highly recommend this book for anyone who finds himself thinking, "What's next for my business?" If you're looking to improve your client relationships and their experience with your business, this book is a great way to start.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
a quick read that gets to the point and lets you have a little fun along the way anyone who works in any capacity of customer service will get something out of this that they can apply the next day
Guest More than 1 year ago
Any person or persons seeking to better understand the art of customer service at its' 'exemplary' best!!...... should read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this ! I actually purchased it as an audiobook and listen to it as I go from store to store for the chain or retail stores I manage. It is both insirational and informative, and more importantly raises some very important issues and a brand new approach to customer service.