Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Uncommon Service by Frances Frei & Anne Morriss - Book review
How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business
By: Frances X. Frei, Anne Morriss
Published: February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
"Good service is still, for the most part, rare. In our experience as economic actors, in industry across industry, we're increasingly frustrated and disappointed", write UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management at Harvard Business School, Frances X. Frei; and Managing Director of the Concire Leadership Institute, Anne Morriss, in their transformational and groundbreaking book Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business. the authors describe how despite being in a service dominated society, the level of customer service is surprisingly low. To remedy this disconnect, the authors provide a systemic approach to creating a new customer service model woven into the very fiber of the organization.
Frances Frei (photo left) and Anne Morriss recognize that organizations don't want to deliver bad customer service, and that customers don't want to be faced with inferior service either. Unfortunately, the reality is that excellent customer service remains a rarity in the marketplace. The authors address the challenge of why customer service is so poor, when the natural human impulse is to provide greater service and satisfaction to others.
For Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, the root of the problem is not that not enough work, attitude, and effort have been channeled toward customer service. Instead, the authors point out that the design choices, developed and incorporated into the very design model of the organization itself, are the real cause of the problem. To counter that issue, the authors propose an entirely fresh approach to customer service through a fundamental system redesign.
Anne Morriss (photo left) and Frances Frei understand the primary importance of a company culture designed with customer service in mind. The authors point out that fantastic customer service can be achieved through a systemic model that offers superior customer service a routine part of the daily business. The benefit of a holistic process is that it allows for all employees regardless of of differences in levels and skills, to be exceptional service providers. The result is an organizational culture that provides tremendous service casually and as a matter of course.
Frances Frei and Anne Morris offer insights into designing an uncommon service model through an understanding of what they call the four universal truths. The four universal truths of uncommon customer service are as follows:
* You can't be good at everything
* Someone has to pay for it
* It's not your employees' fault
* You must manage your customers
For me, the power of the book is how Frances Frei and Anne Morriss combine their theoretical framework of the uncommon service model, with a practical guide for designing the system into the very fabric of the organization. The authors understand the critical importance of creating an all encompassing organizational culture as the foundation for superior customer service. The authors also recognize that a service grounded culture is also a powerful competitive advantage over other companies that fail to embrace the service culture.
Anne Morriss and Frances Frei share case studies of organizations that incorporated the uncommon service process directly into the design their business plan from the start. The authors also provide advice for changing an existing culture through the holistic implementation of the system into an existing organization. Overall, this is a game changing book, filled with important ideas, for any company.
I highly recommend the holistic and results oriented book Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business by Franxes X. Frei and Anne Morriss, to any organizational leaders who are seeking a step by step guide to implementing a systemic approach to customer service excellence int their company. This book will not only create a fresh customer focused culture at the heart of your organization, but it will be sustainable as a long term competitive advantage as well.
Labels: book reviews
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