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Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success

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This wise and inspiring book by Leonard Berry, moves far beyond his pioneering work in services marketing and service quality to explain how great service companies meet their toughest challenge: sustaining long-term success. In a world where customers regard flawless products as a given, service is the key differentiator between competitors in any field. From Berry's exact This wise and inspiring book by Leonard Berry, moves far beyond his pioneering work in services marketing and service quality to explain how great service companies meet their toughest challenge: sustaining long-term success. In a world where customers regard flawless products as a given, service is the key differentiator between competitors in any field. From Berry's exacting study of fourteen mature, highly successful, labor-intensive companies comes an astonishing revelation: the single most important factor in building a lasting service business is not a matter of savvy business practice, but of humane values. In all fourteen award-winning companies -- Bergstrom Hotels, The Charles Schwab Corporation, Chick-fil-A, The Container Store, Custom Research Inc., Dana Commercial Credit, Dial-A-Mattress, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Midwest Express Airlines, Miller SQA, Special Expeditions, St. Paul Saints, USAA, and Ukrop's Super Markets -- values-driven leadership connects with strategic focus, executional excellence, control of destiny, trust-based relationships, generosity, investment in employee success, acting small, and brand cultivation to drive customer satisfaction, innovation, and growth. Dedicating a chapter to each of these nine drivers, this book is the most far-reaching and insightful vision ever presented of the principles and step-by-step actions that continuously bring success to life in a company. Berry's comprehensive model reveals the soul that underlies the strategies and day-to-day operations of great service companies, guiding the thousands of daily decisions of individual employees. Clear, compelling, pathbreaking, Discovering the Soul of Service is essential reading for managers everywhere.


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This wise and inspiring book by Leonard Berry, moves far beyond his pioneering work in services marketing and service quality to explain how great service companies meet their toughest challenge: sustaining long-term success. In a world where customers regard flawless products as a given, service is the key differentiator between competitors in any field. From Berry's exact This wise and inspiring book by Leonard Berry, moves far beyond his pioneering work in services marketing and service quality to explain how great service companies meet their toughest challenge: sustaining long-term success. In a world where customers regard flawless products as a given, service is the key differentiator between competitors in any field. From Berry's exacting study of fourteen mature, highly successful, labor-intensive companies comes an astonishing revelation: the single most important factor in building a lasting service business is not a matter of savvy business practice, but of humane values. In all fourteen award-winning companies -- Bergstrom Hotels, The Charles Schwab Corporation, Chick-fil-A, The Container Store, Custom Research Inc., Dana Commercial Credit, Dial-A-Mattress, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Midwest Express Airlines, Miller SQA, Special Expeditions, St. Paul Saints, USAA, and Ukrop's Super Markets -- values-driven leadership connects with strategic focus, executional excellence, control of destiny, trust-based relationships, generosity, investment in employee success, acting small, and brand cultivation to drive customer satisfaction, innovation, and growth. Dedicating a chapter to each of these nine drivers, this book is the most far-reaching and insightful vision ever presented of the principles and step-by-step actions that continuously bring success to life in a company. Berry's comprehensive model reveals the soul that underlies the strategies and day-to-day operations of great service companies, guiding the thousands of daily decisions of individual employees. Clear, compelling, pathbreaking, Discovering the Soul of Service is essential reading for managers everywhere.

30 review for Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success

  1. 4 out of 5

    Omar Halabieh

    Leonard summarizes the main premise of this book as: "My 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. However, sustaining success can be even more difficult. Services are performances, and the challenge of sustaining the performers' energy, commitment, skills, and knowledge day after day, week after week. month after month, year after y Leonard summarizes the main premise of this book as: "My 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. However, sustaining success can be even more difficult. Services are performances, and the challenge of sustaining the performers' energy, commitment, skills, and knowledge day after day, week after week. month after month, year after year—especially as the organization grows and becomes more complex—is daunting. The greater the involvement of people in creating value for customers, the greater the challenge. This is a book on the lessons 14 outstanding service companies teach about sustainable success. And the lessons they teach are clear indeed. Although the sample 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." Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful: 1- "Three specific challenges in sustaining success are accentuated in enterprises that create value for customers primarily through services. The more labor-intensive the services, the greater the challenges of: operating effectively while growing rapidly, operating effectively when competing on price, retaining the initial entrepreneurial spirit of the younger, smaller company." 2- "A set of core values permeates the high-performance service companies studied for this book. These values are remarkably consistent among the companies. The values of excellence, innovation, joy, teamwork, respect, integrity, and social profit underlie the ongoing success of the sample firms. Unchanging, these core ideals, principles. and philosophies define the very soul of these dynamic companies." 3- "Values-driven leaders continually convey by their words and actions the meaning of success. They not only make palpable the dream (where we are going, why we are going there), they define the indicators of progress (how we know we are getting there). A key factor in sustaining success is combining a compelling dream that inspires commitment with a success definition that is reinforcing rather than contradicting." 4- "A smaller group of companies has been able to sustain high levels of service performance and continue to improve. What they hold in common is a strong set of values that tap into employees' own core values, and a strong set of leaders who teach model, and cultivate the values. Values-driven leadership sustains the high discretionary efforts of human beings to individually and collaboratively achieve and gives root to the eight other success drivers § discussed in the remainder of this book." 5- "Brilliant strategy is insufficient to drive sustained success. The total product that customers experience from a company is its strategy executed. A poorly executed strategy openly invites competitors to imitate the strategy, execute better, and take away the business. Excellent service companies not only have focused strategies, but they also focus on execution. They continually raise their standards of service delivery and constantly strive for perceived superiority over competitors." 6- "Control of destiny is largely attitudinal. If sufficiently determined. companies need not relinquish control of their future to other parties. If they do not allow the lure of growth to impede operational effectiveness, if they stay totally focused on creating superior value for customers, if they continually strive to get better than they are— companies can control their future." 7- "Trust-based customer relationships honor these friendship rules. Excellent service companies may not have a personal relationship with their customers, but they are effective in personalizing service transactions and counteracting the anonymity that customers so often experience with companies. Relationship companies look for ways to please their customers, to do something extra or special for them, just as friends would do for one another. As in friendships, relationship companies do not take advantage of customers. They respect, honor, and trust them. They value the relationship and invest time, effort, and money in strengthening it." 8- "Customers can teach companies how they want to be served. Relationship companies that capture and use this knowledge make it more difficult for customers to leave the relationship." 9- "The initial days and weeks of employment offer a wide-open window for learning about the company's values, traditions, history, strategy, customers. competitors, policies, and procedures. Like actors on a stage, service providers need to know the play; to perform their role well, they need to know where their part fits in the overall performance." 10- "How can service companies that depend on energized, resourceful. committed people to deliver value to customers reap the benefits of smallness when no longer small? The answer lies in a blend of values-driven leadership, innovative structure, customer- and employee-focused information technology, and ownership attitudes." 11- "The sample companies are strategic in their generosity. They not only are extraordinarily generous, they are effectively generous. Rather than giving for the sake of giving, they invest with a plan in mind, with 1 long-term goal. Rather than spreading their resources thinly in numerous initiatives, they concentrate their resources to have a powerful impact and make a meaningful difference. Rather than investing time, energy, and money outside the mainstream of their business, they invest in concert with the business's overall purpose and strategy. Thus, generous acts not only benefit society, they benefit the company too, seating a stronger company and enabling more generous acts in the future." 12- "Values-Driven Leadership: Humane organizational values sustain human excellence. Stable leadership stabilizes values. Values-driven leadership propels all other success sustainers...Strategic Focus: Constancy of purpose leads customer value creation. Strategic focus inspires innovation...Executional Excellence: A well-executed strategy diminishes opportunity for competitors. Attracting great people is the first rule of execution...Control of Destiny: Pursue success on your own terms...Trust-Based Relationships: Sustaining service success requires trust...Investment in Employee Success: Investing in the performer contributes to the performance...Acting Small: In services, acting small is big. High touch and high tech are mutually supportive...Brand Cultivation: Branding the company means performing the service...Generosity: Generosity drives service success."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kelly

    Well written and makes a good point. Remember that your customers and employees are people, treat them accordingly and you will do much better than you would crunching numbers to improve the bottom line.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    Most of the concepts have been covered in other texts. Berry did a great job of consolidating these time-proven concepts though. I did like the Exhibits and the research. The only pet peeve I have with any of these books (like Jim Collins' stuff) is when they focus so much on a small group of companies. That said, I realize that Berry was shooting to find companies that have all 9 drivers. The beauty of the text is that it doesn't not have to all be read from cover-to-cover. You can choose your Most of the concepts have been covered in other texts. Berry did a great job of consolidating these time-proven concepts though. I did like the Exhibits and the research. The only pet peeve I have with any of these books (like Jim Collins' stuff) is when they focus so much on a small group of companies. That said, I realize that Berry was shooting to find companies that have all 9 drivers. The beauty of the text is that it doesn't not have to all be read from cover-to-cover. You can choose your company's weakness and read the chapter that discusses it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lamec Mariita

    This book has captured the secrets to developing and sustaining a culture of excellent customer service which any company will surely benefit from, especially if its livelihood depends on taking good care of customers. The observations of the author are still quite relevant today as they were back then when he wrote the book. It is a good read for any business professional out there.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve Larson

    Been in the work world a long time. Have never studied service to any great extent. This was a great overview of practical approaches to use with service organizations. A bit repetitive in the use of Nordstrom, Southwest, etc. Is a bit dated, who is doing well in 2011? If you want to learn about service approaches great place to start.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Laterveer

    great service book Best service related book I've read since "Setting the Table". Really great that uses companies to back up the findings great service book Best service related book I've read since "Setting the Table". Really great that uses companies to back up the findings

  7. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    This book was included in my book: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. www.100bestbiz.com This book was included in my book: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. www.100bestbiz.com

  8. 5 out of 5

    McPhaul M.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Baldwin

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nguyen duc khanh

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janaki

  12. 5 out of 5

    yaw Adu

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  15. 4 out of 5

    bui thanh doi

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ndeshaanya

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tristan McCartney

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mariam

  19. 4 out of 5

    Do Thi Diep

  20. 4 out of 5

    Huat Heng

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevon Cummings

  23. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alimi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Syed Muhtashim

  25. 4 out of 5

    maimba Charles

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lê Thanh Tài

  28. 5 out of 5

    JodyC3993

  29. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Morton

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jv Lq

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