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Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success Hardcover – February 12, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (February 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684845113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684845111
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Leonard L. Berry examines some of America's great service companies and finds "nine drivers of excellence" that are behind them all. Discovering the Soul of Service looks at 14 diverse businesses, including the St. Paul Saints minor-league baseball team, Dial-A-Mattress, Midwest Express Airlines, and two of the world's fastest-growing service companies--Charles Schwab and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. "The lessons they teach are clear indeed," writes Berry, a marketing professor and director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A & M University. "Although the companies differ on the outside--the nature, size and structure of their businesses--to a remarkable degree they are the same on the inside, sharing the drivers of their ongoing success." The "nine drivers" that Berry uncovers are the following: Leading with Values, Strategic Focus, Executional Excellence, Control of Destiny, Trust-Based Relationships, Investment in Employee Success, Acting Small, Brand Cultivation, and Generosity. Berry, whose previous books include On Great Service: A Framework for Action and Delivering Quality Service, writes that the basis of a successful service organization is value-driven leadership and "building a humane community that humanely serves customers and the broader community in which they live." Discovering the Soul of Service is inspiring--and potentially profitable--reading for anyone in business today. --Dan Ring

Review

Tom Peters author of The Circle of Innovation Waiting for the "masterwork" on service? Wait no longer. Leonard Berry's Discovering the Soul of Service is it! A brilliant book, eminently compelling case studies from Charles Schwab to Midwest Express. It doesn't get better than this.

David Glass President and Chief Executive Officer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. A blueprint that will work for anyone wanting to sustain successful service. A must for anyone interested in service businesses.

Garrett H. Jamison President and Chief Executive Officer, Banc One Investment Management Group A treasure for anyone truly serious about sustaining a service culture.

Robert L. Tillman Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Lowe's Companies, Inc. Captures the essence of what is required to sustain success in a labor-intensive service business. An outstanding book.

Jerry Richardson Owner/Founder, Carolina Panthers A world-class resource on leadership values and the human side of business.

Stanley Marcus Chairman Emeritus, Neiman Marcus Len Berry holds the black belt in customer service.

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Customer Reviews

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It has things in it that service based businesses can use to make their business even better.
kleen4daclub20072002
It is crammed with wonderful examples of how the dozen or so companies studied make service a delight for both employees and customers alike.
cusack@worldnet.att.com - Michael Cusack, author of Online Customer Care
I read this book for a graduate marketing class, but it is a good read for any business professional out there.
G Doggy Dogg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Lawson on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Corporate research has become quite popular towards the end of the 20th Century, and Professor Berry has dome a masterful job of centering his on present day champs of the service sector. Amidst surprising and inspirational stories of these 14 top service companies, Berry weaves a compelling study of nine capacities that, apparently, guarantee the success of a service business. Many of the lessons parallel current business management advice, but a few transcend simple processes and get at the emotional environment that keeps employees and the company motivated about and focused clearly on the long-term success of the enterprise. A great read, this volume is indispensible for managers and owners of service businesses that intend to sustain longevity.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently re-read this book (1999) and Berry's previously published On Great Service (1996), curious to know how well they have held up since they were first published. My conclusion? Rock-solid. In fact, both books are even more relevant - and more valuable - now than they were when Leonard Berry wrote them. That is amazing...and commendable.

With regard to the title of this book, consider this brief excerpt from the concluding chapter: "Great service companies have a soul that underlies their strategies and day-to-day operations. The company's soul - its value system - is its foundational center, its inner core." Berry fully understands how difficult it is to achieve and then sustain a great service company, noting that such companies are "humane communities that humanely serve customers and the broader communities in which they live." Decision-makers, especially in companies which have problems attracting and then retaining the talented, skilled, and principled people needed, would be well-advised to consider very carefully the meaning and significance of Berry's concluding observation. The same can be said for companies which have problems keeping valued customers and don't know why.

As Berry explains, his purpose in this book is to identify, describe, and illustrate the underlying drivers of sustainable success in service businesses. Creating a successful service operation is unquestionably a difficult task...The greater involvement of people in creating value for customers, the greater the challenge." He examines 14 outstanding service companies which include The Container Store, the Charles Schwab Corporation, Chick-fil-A, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, the St. Paul Saints AAA baseball franchise, and USAA. He suggests what lessons can be learned from them.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alfredo Ramirez on February 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is very difficult for me to work with "interviews and case study" based books since they are almost invariably full of "brilliant" quotes and "success and beyond-duty" stories that, to say the least, sound too good as to be of a sustainable nature in real world. This book is based on experiences and what seems very solid research and, for sure, is not free of this type of passages; and yet, it is one of the most useful and often-referenced books that I own and work with. So, if you will yourself through it, you'll find one of the best and most down-to-earth books on Customer Service. The author identifies nine drivers that can make any organization successful, all of them emphasizing the human nature of the relationship with customers (customer-centered). It is truly a recipe for success, more easily applicable to on-going enterprises rather than to start-ups. From this book the reader can produce very useful check-lists to diagnose the company and its strategic practices regarding their service approach. It can also be used as a guiding document to move a company to a truly customer-awareness territory and, most important, to keep it there. Of special relevance is the author's brilliant exposition in the final chapter "Lessons from World-Class Service Companies", where the reader obtains a rarely seen synopsis of all the good things that excellent companies do "to sustain their excellence". If nothing else, this chapter by itself justifies buying this book and incorporating it to your professional library.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The challenge with many business books today (especially those focused on service excellence), is the lack of actual tools to implement the ideas or concepts presented. Dr. Berry's new book "Discovering the Soul of Service" is loaded with real-life case studies from world-class organizations and their continued quest for service excellence. After reading many of the service books available in the U.S. today, this is best that I've read. Thank you Dr. Berry for showing us the path to pure, sustained excellence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Chandler on July 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book could be titled Discoving the Recipie for Great Organizations. It is one of the best reviews of great organizations and what makes them so. Dr. Berry has provided a valuable contribution to business leaders and managers. Buy this book and apply its wisdom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on April 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Leonard L. Berry takes an in-depth look at how service can sustain the success of a business in this detailed, footnoted exploration that includes plenty of interviews and examples from the business world. Written authoritatively, yet conversationally, this book outshines similar works because of its thoroughness. Far from a quick-fix, self-help business guide, the book is thoughtful and doesn't rely on the obvious. We [...] recommend it to managers and leaders in all businesses, particularly if your competitive edge rests on pleasing your customers.
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