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Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business
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Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  521 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Most companies treat service as a low-priority business operation, keeping it out of the spotlight until a customer complains. Then service gets to make a brief appearance – for as long as it takes to calm the customer down and fix whatever foul-up jeopardized the relationship.

In Uncommon Service, Frances Frei and Anne Morriss show how, in a volatile economy where the old
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Steven Bragg
Nov 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Uncommon Service makes one especially good point, which is that the customer service experience involves trade offs, where you can do some things well, but not all. While this is an important point, the remainder of the book tends to fall increasingly flat, with fewer additional ideas that could be considered new and unique.
Thijs Niks
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compelling argument for choosing explicitly what to be good and what to be bad at in a service business. Lots of real world examples make it a more interesting read, though overall not as engaging as I hoped.
Jeff Toister
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has really stuck with me since I've read it. That says a lot for someone who reads a lot of books about customer service.

I really like how the core points are presented in a very logical framework. For example, one of the main points of the book is that your business can't be good at everything. Smart companies choose to be great at the attributes their target customers care the most about while spending less time, money, and attention on the things that don't matter.
Jun 10, 2019 added it
Shelves: purchased-pdf
It’s built into the design of the firm which achieves the goal of superior service on average employees
-          Which means deciding what you won’t do well e.g. WMT wont provide high customer service & allocate resources accordingly
-          Fund that capital allocation by either charging customers extra (e.g. apple charges for its after care), cost improvements drive improved service (Progressive agents come on site ==> higher custome
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Breezy read. Very very practical. Has the answers to most common doubts and questions that you might have while reading the book. I would say the book has achieved the objective of had set out with.
If you are a service business owner or an aspiring one or a senior level manager in a service business - definitely do read this book.
Mauricio Londoño
Great book, it helps you to discover the value of services.... And give you a framework to design the services

Great book, it helps you to discover the value of services.... And give you a framework to design the services
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic nuts and bolts of great service

This book expanded my thinking without constantly drilling home things I already know. The experience of the authors comes through over and over.
Mithun Sivagurunathan
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: insights
Uncommon Service urges one to pick your battles and not go after everything. My biggest takeaway was the existence of an alternate segmentation based on operational feasibility, dubbed as operational segments (on the similar lines of marketing segments based on demographics and psychographics).
Sandra Sydnor
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unconventional wisdom for best of class service and unparallelled competitive advantage
Enrique  Martinez
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A solid service strategy book, lot of case studies and ideas.
Kris Yonushka
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great examples and information. Not over complicated. Recommended.
Dec 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Dnf half way through. Maybe not the right mindset but I found it boring to read.
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
my boss made me read this, good stories about...running a customer service team, gives you perspective. would have liked to see more dragons or time travel though.
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it

In order to provide really great customer service you need to choose what aspects of customer service you’re going to really excel at and, this is the clincher, what aspects you’re going to put less attention on. Or, in the words of the authors, choosing where you’re going to be bad! The choice to be made is what type of service design you’re going to implement in you organization – and trade-offs will always have to be made.


The authors argue that the time has com
May 21, 2012 rated it liked it
This book has useful elements of service design but falls short of meaningful advancement in favor of a standard 'customer service' approach. The book sometimes strays from its thesis "putting customers at the core" and at various times adopts the banner of "doing less to get more".
Fundamentally this book is as if blue ocean strategy was re-written specifically for services. (Choose the dimensions you will excel in, others not so much).

This approach while valuable falls apart with the inconsiste
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned
Normally, It is a sin to compare business books against fiction. For a business book this had one of the most coherent story all through without repeating itself. And fit enough to be the bible for designing customer service.

The authors have not polished theories, but build a more empirical logic on what works and what doesn't. The first chapter in a gist gives the entire book and each chapter explains with anecdotes and case studies. The core idea that service organizations must resign to the f
Jim Tincher
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When a CEO gives you a book, you read it! I interviewed Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips, for my blog (post coming out next month). As we discussed books she reached into her bookshelf and gave me this one, and I'm glad she did.

This book, by two Harvard business profs, lays out the secrets to a good service strategy. One of them particularly resonated with me - to be good at something, you have to decide what to be bad at. If you're going to offer great service you either need to charge more, or
Jim Serger
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book does a "service " to all who want too know what the payoff is of excellent customer is understanding and looking into yourself as to what a company can be on the customer service side of business. Excellent stories, superb insights and they hit hard the responsibility of keeping employees engaged in making service a priority. Fun, energetic, spontaneous, fulfilling, weird and of course uncommon service -- that is what separates the good from the great. ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a good book with lots of good stories about how customer service expresses itself as a cultural value in different corporations. Lots of good anecdotes that gave me new things to think about. Not particularly rigorous in terms of science, so it is hard for me to put a ton of credence into some of the more generalized conclusions that the authors try for, but that doesn't take away from the value that I got out of reading it. ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Uncommon Service should be mandatory reading for any manager in a service business. Frances Frei, the world authority on creating excellent customer experiences, brings her theories to life with vibrant examples and crisp writing. The best business book since The Innovator’s Dilemma.
Mohamed Marwan
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
An important book for service models decision making. Great clarity in explaining different models and the consequences of their implementation. Packed with different examples from the industry. Could have been better by adding more field service examples instead of only focusing on back-office services and tele-customer management. In short, a Must-read for anyone in the Services Industry
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
More theory than practical tips, but I enjoyed the case studies. Because the focus is customer service, it was more immediately relevant to librarianship than other business books. (I especially need to learn more about Zipcar's customer management!) ...more
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: businessbooks
A number of great takeaways, but for me the best piece was the focus on companies having to choose what they will focus on - so easy for us to want to be great at everything. Good stuff - highly recommend for any business leader.
Vikram Chalana
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
The first chapter gives the full summary of the book. The rest of it was just examples. Some good questions are asked by the author -- your service org cannot be great everything so what do you deliberately choose to be bad at and how to do you intend to pay for service excellence?
May 02, 2012 is currently reading it
An amazing speaker in person, I am excited to get more in depth as I am starting Dr. Frei's book. ...more
Jun 07, 2012 added it
I skimmed it and overall, some good points hit home. To revisit when time allows.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to enjoy it, but it's just way too dry and drawn out. ...more
Elizabeth Bornstein
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: already-read
This gave me a lot of information about what to do when working in different services and how to treat your employees and supervisors and everyone you work with.
Pradeep Badatiya
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is full of real examples of corporates with their uncommon service at brilliance. A good read.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow the way it involves customer in their business process sounds similar to agile process. Maybe those services have started as lean, quick to adujst the course and grow rapidly but reasonably.
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