A Book Review Of “Raving Fans”

jeremyJeremy In our most recent book club we discussed our way through “Raving Fans” by Ken Blanchard (@kenblanchard) and Sheldon Bowles.  It proved to be a very easy read, progressing through one continuous story with no chapters to speak of.  It made it a little tricky to break up into weekly readings but we found this little book to be packed with customer service and customer experience wisdom.  Jenny and I wanted to take a few moments to discuss what we loved about the book.  There weren’t many pages where I didn’t underline something.

Jenny, I’ll let you take the first crack at this.  What did you find most insightful for you about “Raving Fans?”

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Jenny My book is pretty full of underlines and notes too. Sally’s grocery store stuck with me the most and I truly wish I had some place like that around me. This store went above and beyond to provide service to make their customers feel like a million bucks, even though they were just shopping for food. I love the idea of going above and beyond, to our fullest extent, to make sure that the customer has everything they need to help them and make our service memorable. With every customer interaction now, I ask myself, “Did I do all I could to make this customer feel like a million bucks?” This also goes hand in hand with the “symbolic hug” idea. When customers have issues, how can we provide “symbolic hugs” to take care of the problem, resolve it and make them feel better? I also really loved the quote about (paraphrasing) how listening is great but responding is dynamite. Eh, I really could go on forever about this book. Overall, I’d like a fairy godmother!

What did you find most insightful about this book, Jeremy?

jeremyJeremy Sally’s grocery store really was amazing.  I really loved Sally’s concept of closing your eyes and envisioning what you want.  I would drive a long way to that grocery store too!

So my favorite insight was really when they talk later in the book about consistency.  There’s one story about how the gas station decided to clean windshields for customers at no extra charge.  Once they started doing this awesome new service, customers would complain if the windshield wasn’t cleaned to their expectation.  My knee jerk reaction is “Shut up customer.  We’re not charging you extra so just appreciate it” but the book explains clearly that once you add a new service, customers will expect that it’s done right.  That’s a wonderful insight for customer service.  My biggest focus right now is establishing consistency in our email responses to customers both in time and quality and this is just a good reminder that if you’re going to do something, be consistently good at it or you will have disappointed customers.  Now it’s a matter of creating processes that people can follow so we are consistent.

That’s my big insight Jenny.  Now for my next question.  What is one way you are improving based on what you read in “Raving Fans?”

jennydrinks

Jenny Consistency is really so important to make sure that the customer experience is awesome every time. Well, as far as improving goes, I am really paying more attention to details.  This includes everything from the settings on a customer’s account, to my tone of voice on the phone, to the words I use in my emails, etc. I am also focusing on giving “symbolic hugs” in every customer and team member interaction. It sounds so silly but I love that concept. How are you improving based on what you read in the book? Also, do you have any new goals that came up after reading this?

jeremyJeremy Jenny, I love it that you gravitate toward the hug.  I would say most people you interact with leave feeling like they received a symbolic hug.  Truly this is accountability to be really consistent with that and I’m glad we finally have a term to describe it.

Anyway so back to consistency my two big goals are to make agent training and our email responses more consistent.  Both of these really are sub-goals to my main goal of raising customer satisfaction to 9/10.  I’ll wrap up with one more thing I loved and that is the concept of improving by 1%.  No need to be overwhelmed.  Anyone can do 1%.  So that’s where we start.  We totally need to check back in six months and see how we’re doing.  To all who are reading this, definitely pick up a copy of “Raving Fans.”  It’s $0.01 on Amazon right now and the wisdom packed inside is worth a lot more than that.

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

3 comments

  • Love the consistency idea, something all customer service people can do better at. Any suggestions for doing customer surveys?

    • Hey Jon, thanks for commenting. I think we still have a ways to go for surveys but a couple things we do pretty well I think…1. We send surveys after phone calls and then consistently review and act on the feedback. 2. We’ve sent larger scale surveys to have customers rate our product and whatnot. That one is like once a year. I think in the future we’re going to start surveying for Net Promoter Score. Are you guys doing any surveys right now?

  • Andrew Thompson

    Jeremy & Jenny,

    I am an analyst focused on Client Experience in Tulsa, OK. I focus on our contact center, and part of my job is to recommend ways to continue to increase our Client Satisfaction and NPS scores. I am actually proposing doing a book review of Raving Fans for our strongest agents. (I’m trying to follow Buckingham’s theory that working with the strongest performers will have the greatest results) I was scouring the internet for some ideas and stumbled upon ya’ll’s blog. (which is fantastic, best stumble in a while) I saw this post and was hoping you could give me some ideas for how you structured your book club discussions. I have a few ideas but really wanted to hammer out something spectacular. If you could let me know any suggestions that would be great! Thank you!

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