Customer Reviews: Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service
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on June 10, 1998
I've been a struggling small business owner (some 32 to 38 employees, depending upon the season) thinking my problem was either that I was undercapitalized or that I had hired the wrong people. Raving Fans was a wake up call. The problem was I wasn't creating raving fans. I was satisfied if my customers were satisfied, but I learned in this book that service is so bad that customers expectations are low. It's easy to satisfy low expectations and it doesn't mean very much. You have to create raving fans. Customers who tell others how wonderful you are. Today everyone in my company is focused on customers. Focused on creating stories our customers can tell others. Creating those magic moments the book calls giving symbolic hugs. Best of all Raving Fans gave me the road map to do it, all wrapped up in three easy lessons. This book may be simple, but it is also profound and by far the best customer service book I've ever read, and I guess the best business book too. I'd be out of business today if I hadn't adopted the strategy of creating raving fans and then getting everyone in the company to do the same. The result is we've stopped buring our customer list every six months. We're retaining old customers, adding new ones and sales are way up. Today Raving Fans is required reading for every new hire. Thanks Amazon for this opportunity to write this review. You're the best. I'm your RAVING FAN!
Richard Anders
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on June 26, 2002
Raving Fans is a decent business text and a nice break from some of the more academic titles out there. Like most Ken Blanchard titles, the book is a very easy and quick read. Its value for the time invested is therefore good (but not great).
The most important teaching from this book was that you can't settle for simply "satisfied" customers. Service expectations are often so low that people claim to be satisfied when indeed they are not. This leaves you vulnerable to any competitor that merely raises the bar on service. This is not rocket science. Like the rest of the book, the advice given is practical albeit simplistic.
Raving Fans suffers from a lack of real-world examples. The fictional stories are handy for getting one to think about creative service ideas. Unfortunately, there is a lack of supporting details to show how these ideas translate to profitability. You can't grab onto these ideas and say to a doubting associate; "Of course this can work. This is just how (insert name of real business here) did it!"
If you don't have much time to read about customer service ideas, I would pass on this book and go directly to Carl Sewell's book "Customers for Life". Sewell owns a real business and discusses the real-world issues of increasing customer service levels including compensation incentives, costs, service abuses and bottom line results. I felt that Sewell's book was a much better value for the time invested.
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on June 12, 1998
I'm a dentist, and even though people think I have patients, they are also customers. I and my staff have to deliver exceptional service if I expect them to come back and refer their friends and family to me. The normal dental experience in this world is "well, he didn't hurt me too much." I want people to rave about their dental visits, not just tell the usual "horror stories"! This book has been used in my office as a reading assignment and the subject of staff meetings, in an attempt to comunicate to my staff and have them deliver service that exceeds the patient's expectations. The simple style it's told in really keeps their attention, since most people will not read the more detailed and lengthy books on the market that are similar in substance. Highly recommended for any business person--large or small!
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on February 22, 2001
Kenneth Blanchard continues his trend of writing easy-to-read books with BIG ideas for making your business better. Raving Fans is a book of stories relating how fictional companies have created an environment of delivering awesome customer service. A guy that has just been put in a managment position requiring a turnaround goes on a fictional trip with his "angel" to visit businesses that have figured out their vision and their system to deliver customer service extraordinary. Based on three simple principles (Decide, Discover, Deliver), each company has created a group of Raving Fans (not just customers, but fans) who wouldn't consider shopping anywhere else for what one of these companies offers. Within each story is other nuggets of common sense and good ideas that can be implemented in any company that has customers and wants to create fans. We required our store managers to read the book and each created a list ranging from 20-40 points that they can put into effect at their stores to improve customer service. This is a simple, must-read for every business owner and manager.
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on April 3, 2002
This book is written in "parable" or story telling format and is different to read for most people. If you have read the best seller One Minute Manager or Leadership and the One Minute Manager it is written in comparable form. I have read both of the prior books.
First off, the book basically talks about customer service (vs. goal setting & reward/punishment in the one minute manager) and how companies need to offer exemplary service to create Raving Fans, as the authors title it. I was simply hoping to get one good idea/thought out of the book and I did. It was EXCEPTIONALLY easy to read, as I read the 132 pages in about 2.5 - 3 hours total. The book has a lot of dead space and big font so you aren't getting tons of "filler." The authors try to focus on one business issue and address it succinctly.
This book is good and bad depending on what you expect to get out of it.
It is good because (1) anyone can read this book (2) customer service is horrible in today's environment so it is timely (3) The book provides great illustrations and (4) The authors get the point across.
Having said that, they never talk about the business implications of what the characters do. They say that customers love their service or product but they negate to talk about the cost implications. Business is about making money, not being loved by everyone. I love great service and all the frills but, at the end of the day, I have to make it worth the investment to the business owner.
Yes, our economy is very much about selling an experience to someone, but there are cost implications to having carpeted floors in grocery stores and full service gas stations that don't price their gas more expensively. There are implications to buying a product at another store and selling it at the exact same price to your customer (what about the price of labor?) In that case you are actually LOSING money, except that the customer is happy.....
At the end of the day profits pay for the labor, rent, etc. Businesses have to make money and this part is really neglected in this book.
I love that they focus on the customer and finding out what their needs are but they negate to mention where people are in the food chain. What does the customer value the most? Is your business positioned to offer it? Do you offer headaches or tons of value to the customer are a few questions I think of daily?
If anyone is looking for a great business book check out The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker as it is the best book I have read on management and the role of managers, businesses and individuals within a business. Your money and time would be better spent on that book.
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on July 7, 2010
I read the reviews and had to agree with a number of the comments such as "being intellectually molested" "waste of time", etc. This book (I have a hard time calling it that) is like a high school term paper where you were asked to turn in X pages. The margins are so wide that this could have been printed at 3"x4" to fill a page rather than 6x9. Even if it included some useful facts, it wouldn't be worth $20. Then you read it and realize its nothing but a bunch of filler positioned as a line extension book from a well known author who has tarnished his "brand equity" with this poor excuse of a book. Very sad. I am a consumer advocate and have been in the business for 30+ years having read and written books on the subject. At least with books like The Ultimate Question, there is something pragmatic an organization can use.
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Ken Blanchard's books were recommended to me by a former employer. Because my position included customer service, I purchased RAVING FANS. The book takes a lighthearted look at the serious subject of customer service. It's easy to follow and contains valuable advice. It was good enough to be recommeneded to a co-worker, who has since gone into business for herself. While reading, I realized what wonderful service I receive from waitresses, my hairdresser, and my mechanic. These people could have read this book from cover to cover. I think that readers will be pleasantly surprised to recognize people in their everyday life who have made their customers into Raving Fans. Unfortunately, the employer who recommended Blanchard to me was not interested in reading the book. He didn't like my implementing Blanchard's suggestions -- despite clients calling and, indeed, RAVING, that the lessons I learned were increasing business. I ultimately left the job, and hope to be able to use he advice in the future.
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on June 3, 1998
Re: Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard
I have a question. Why wasn't this book published as a leaflet? The entire lesson could have been taught in about 5 pages.
While I agree with the three fundamental guidelines described in the book, I thought the structure of the book was a bit juvenile. The anecdotes were very farfetched and somewhat archaic. For example: (1) the cab driver who just happens to have a cooler full of soft drinks for her customers and two thermoses with regular and decaf coffee, and (2) the full-service gas station??? I could have thought up better stories than these. Or at least stories that apply to the real world.
And what's with the golf? This isn't even relevant to the book....but it sure helps to take up space.
I expect more out of a published author with his credentials. I've heard a lot about Blanchard, but haven't read any of his books until now. Rest assured I won't ever read one again. Perhaps that's the most important lesson I learned for my $20 spent.
My recommendation: BORROW it from a friend if you're really interested.
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on January 29, 2010
I'm not a Raving Fan of Raving Fans. The authors belabor their three points by hiding them within a story that is off-putting with the generic Area Manager being the guy whose shoes we're suppose to slip into so we can be guided by Charlie. Yet I recognize some of their techniques in the latest customer-centric policies that Walmart has tried to put into place within the last year. Other contemporary retail stores also trying to follow the idea of flouncing all over the customer and smothering them half-to-death while all the same time, never having enough cashiers to get people in and out. I think the authors really undersold themselves by presenting their ideas in this fantasy-driven format because it does not make it applicable to the real world and working with real people.

So far the strongest driving home point was talking about customers saying they're "Fine" or silent. According to the book, this means that customers aren't telling you their real thoughts. I agree this might be a problem. However, as a cautionary warning, some customers like myself, just aren't chit-chatty and are just there to get my stuff and get out quickly. I'm not looking for a best friend in a retail store. Also from experience working retail, customers hate it if you call them by name. It's creepy and invasive.

My other complaint is that despite my suspicions that the examples in the book are suppose to be a metaphor of some kind, I kept getting annoyed that the examples were in no way realistic to how REAL LIVE customers behave. Most notably were the valet parking and carpeting in a grocery store (you should have heard my dad laugh!) and giving people no limits on how many clothes they can take with them into a dressing room (has the author ever worked retail?!). I understand that this isn't the point of the reading, but I got so distracted by these hilariously poor examples that I can't take the book seriously.
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on August 23, 2002
Raving fans is the story of a manager that finds himself in charge of a failing department. He is given the position with the understanding that he HAS to fix things, and fix them quickly. To the rescue comes his "fairy godmother" Charlie-a guardian angel with a penchant for golf and a great deal of information about how to make customers more than satisfied.
Through this parable the manager and the reader learn there are three rules for making your customers "Raving Fans". First, decide what you want. Second, discover what the customer wants. Third, deliver plus one.
Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles have done an excellent job of boiling down excellent customer service to its essence. The rules are easy to read and simple to understand. But, like most things of consequence they will take time to master. This book is well worth the hour or two it will take to read.
However, delivering excellent service is only part of the equation. To have a truly profitable well-run organization you also need to have excellent leadership, a highly motivated team, and value-driven goals. While this book touches on these subjects it certainly doesn't do them justice. For a clearer picture I would also recommend reading "Gung-Ho!", "Leadership By The Book", and "The One Minute Manager" -all part of Ken Blanchard's library of leadership materials. All of them are quick reads, and amazingly informative. Together they create an excellent picture of how a successful, value-centered organization should be run.
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