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Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service

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Written in the parable style of The One Minute Manager, Raving Fans uses a brilliantly simple and charming story to teach how to define a vision, learn what a customer really wants, institute effective systems, and make Raving Fan Service a constant feature--not just another program of the month.

America is in the midst of a service crisis that has left a wake of disillusioned customers from coast to coast. Raving Fans includes startling new tips and innovative techniques that can help anyone create a revolution in any workplace--and turn their customers into raving, spending fans.

"Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans."

This, in a nutshell, is the advice given to a new Area Manager on his first day--in an extraordinary business book that will help everyone, in every kind of organization or business, deliver stunning customer service and achieve miraculous bottom-line results.

137 pages, Hardcover

First published May 19, 1992

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About the author

Kenneth H. Blanchard

302 books1,674 followers
Ken Blanchard, one of the most influential leadership experts in the world, is the coauthor of the iconic bestseller, The One Minute Manager, and 60 other books whose combined sales total more than 21 million copies. His groundbreaking works have been translated into more than 27 languages and in 2005 he was inducted into Amazon’s Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time.

Ken is also the cofounder and chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, an international management training and consulting firm that he and his wife, Margie Blanchard, began in 1979 in San Diego, California.

When he’s not writing or speaking, Ken also spends time teaching students in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership Program at the University of San Diego. Ken can be found at www.kenblanchard.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 435 reviews
Profile Image for Aaron.
28 reviews2 followers
August 18, 2008
Not that I expected anything different, but this "revolutionary approach to customer service" is pretty simplistic. I admit that I read it as a requirement at work. There are three main lessons in the book and the rest is filler. Undoubtedly, the author began with a basic outline. That outline was then stolen by a rouge children's author who, then completed the story around it. "I did it as a joke... but they're going out like that". The three basic lessons are solid common sense concepts. For that, I give the author credit. However, the fluff is guaranteed to encourage skiming, page skipping, and/or new personal best attempts at speed reading. I suppose there is a large segment of the corporate population that does not read regularly. Perhaps they are drawn to this book (hence the "over 1 million sold"). I find it more likely that there are two categories of consumers for this literary genre:

-Corporate trainers who believe that their employees require a great deal of imaginary and emotional fluff to learn and apply a principle.

-Corporate trainers who require a great deal of imaginary and emotional fluff to learn & apply a principle.

Either way, they buy in bulk. It is really quite brilliant.
8 reviews
January 11, 2012
Do not buy this book. It is way too long, the narration is terrible and they spend way too much time talking about golf. The main points are, figure out what you want, find out what your customer wants (try and reconcile them) and then deliver plus 1% per week. There, I just saved you $20 bucks.
Profile Image for Meri.
981 reviews25 followers
September 15, 2007
Jerry Springer is less insulting to human intelligence. More useful as toilet paper.
March 13, 2014
I read Raving Fans as a supplemental text for a college, Principles of Customer Service course. I think it's funny that many reviewers have rated this book negatively based on its size and its simplification of the concept of good customer service.....that the ideas in this book are just common sense. And truthfully, they are just common sense....... And yet poor customer service has become a standard, that we've become accustomed to. We don't really expect anything above mediocre anymore.

Raving Fans breaks it down into three easy steps. Decide what you want. Discover what the customer wants. Deliver the vision....plus 1%. Exceeding expectations is important, but consistently meeting expectations creates credibilty. Once you've become consistent, raise the hurdle 1%. The 1% keeps you moving ahead and focused beyond your vision. To be successful you have to be better than your competition......consistently!

I think Raving Fans is not only an important read for business owners and employees that have direct contact with customers, but also for employees that do not come in contact with the outside customer. Good customer service filters down throughout the organization, not just at the front door. As you read this short, easy book, you'll begin to recognize the concepts from this book in businesses that you frequent. Home Depot, Trader Joes, Southwest Airlines....... They all "get it." And it's so easy!

This book is short, easy to read, and inexpensive....... Why wouldn't you read it?
Profile Image for Joy Pouros.
125 reviews2 followers
October 24, 2020
Oh boy. I don't know why I did this to myself. I once had a boss who LOVED this book, so when I found a copy cheap I thought I'd see what the fuss is about.

This book is a mere 130 pages. Yet there is so little content that the font is large and the top and bottom margins are HUGE. This is a fast read, which is its most redeeming quality.

Yet even with the huge margins and large font, there is still so little information that it has to be given to us in this longwinded story about a fairy godmother (who is a man, since they needed to fill a gender quota - this book hasn't aged well) of customer service who loves to play golf and can read thoughts and disappear/reappear.

Spoiler: There are three points, and they are:
Decide on a vision of what you want to do.
Discover what your customers want, and how your vision can or cannot accommodate.
Deliver what you say you'll do, plus 1% more.

That's it. That's the book. If you choose to read it, you'll also read about a fictitious grocery store with valet, a department store where the boss' office is right in the middle of the store so customers can walk up and talk to him, and a few other businesses.

Perhaps the book was more revolutionary in its time. I think now businesses do understand that the bare minimum isn't enough (even though they don't all do it well).

It went fast, and now I can say I read it.
Profile Image for Leah Good.
Author 2 books178 followers
February 29, 2016
The best way I can describe this book is ... It's a Wonderful Life married a customer service textbook, and they had a baby. I promise, that combination really does describe this book!

My boss at Chick-Fil-A mentioned that the company uses the "Raving Fan" approach to customer service. Curious, I Googled the term when I got home and found this book.

If you have an interest in business, want to know a piece of Chick-Fil-A's magic, and enjoy really quirky books ... this one is for you!

P.S. It's worthwhile to read other reviews. They're right when they say this is a very simple book. On the other hand it gets it's point across well, and its use of story is helpful for painting a picture of the type of business the "raving fan" model can produce.
Profile Image for Steven.
96 reviews5 followers
February 28, 2014
I've been reading a lot of fiction lately, so I decided to pepper in a "business" book.

Considering "Raving Fans" covers a compelling topic and is only 132 pages, I figured I'd read it.

One hour later and I'm finished and now writing this review.

It's a decent read. This book uses a narrative, third-person format to show the reader the benefits of employing the mindset of businesses with "Raving Fans." I rolled my eyes the first couple pages in when I realized the whole book was going to employ this format, but I eventually had to admit that this storytelling approach was effective. I started and finished this book in one sitting, which is more than I can say about other business books I start. I have a bookcase full of biographies, company case studies and corporate strategy books I've started, only to eventually abandon them.

But anyways, back to this book.

In this story, our nameless protagonist (really, our avatar in this world) becomes enlightened in their journey from clueless and frustrated manager, to a graduate of Raving Fan school, ready to wow customers.

We meet three different business owners who run businesses with Raving Fans. Each owner explains a different rule they employ and how by incorporating these rules into a system, their businesses flourish.

There aren't really "new" concepts presented in this book, per se. That doesn't mean you shouldn't read this book. Regardless of your position in an organization, there are nuggets of useful information here. Whether these are specific tactics, anecdotal stories to be shared or helping you take a step back and look at customer service differently. You'll get something useful.

I am going to end this review by saying I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Cathy Allen.
144 reviews12 followers
October 5, 2012
I no longer know whether I picked up this book and read it because I was irritated by the level of customer service I often get, or if my irritation is caused by learning from this book how ridiculously easy it is to provide good service. It's probably a cyclical thing. This I do know for sure: more than any book I've read in years I want to hand out copies of this one.... not in restaurants or grocery stores. Those folks tend to provide good service. I want to hand it out at the hospital, at the nursing home where my grandfather stayed for a time recently, at the social services agencies where other family members have been treated very badly. These are the places who take their customers for granted... who behave so abominably that one wonders how they can possibly feel any pride in their work.

Blanchard writes fun fables, but this one comes complete with a golf-loving Fairy Godmother named Charlie, who introduces our open-minded hero to a series of new colleagues who can explain the simple process of ensuring an exceptional customer experience. As with so much else in life, excellence starts with vision... a vision of the service you want to provide. It includes developing high-quality, actionable feedback from the people you serve, and committing to continuous improvement. Easy peasy!

November 4, 2014
Continuing my pattern of comparing books to others, Raving Fans is "The Five People you Meet in Heaven" combined with "The Celestine Prophecy."

This is sooo a book of the 90s, where we had epiphanies about things we should already know as common sense, but weren't utilizing. That said, the advice still standsand I found myself having "A-ha" moments.

I was asked to read his for work, as part of an improvement initiative. I think this book, a quick read, is a good place to start for improvement. I don't think it's the end-all, be-all, as this just sets you on a path towards improvement, but doesn't give you the step by step instructions to do it.
Profile Image for Iris Haar.
Author 1 book157 followers
August 20, 2017
Aan de hand van een verhaal worden de drie geheimen over hoe een fan van je klant te maken uitgelegd. Dat voelt soms een beetje knullig, maar het is daardoor een toegankelijk boekje dat makkelijk te begrijpen is. Het is wel iets minder praktisch en concreet dan ik had gehoopt. Desondanks inspirerend om te luisteren en heeft me nieuwe dingen geleerd die ik hoop toe te passen om een betere ondernemer te worden.
Profile Image for Rob McGrory.
187 reviews
August 30, 2018
Absolute drivel. Overexaggerated concepts that would NEVER work in real life. For example, a department store with daycare services, pinning carnations on everyone who comes in, a supermarket where they have consultants who plug your shopping list into the computer to help you save money and pick a healthy diet. Valet parking at that same supermarket? AND they have competitive prices?
Plus ZERO mention of treating employees better which would lead to better customer service.
Profile Image for Jesse.
1,023 reviews11 followers
March 9, 2019
This super fast read is still very relevant in today's market place. Applicable to many aspects of life outside of running a business.

Blanchard drives home his points by using plot and in depth examples of how to create "raving fans".

For the 2 hours it takes to get through this, it is well worth the time.
Profile Image for Amber.
21 reviews
December 9, 2011
I had to read it for work, a fairy tale story with impossible expectations of customer service.
Profile Image for William Hynes.
3 reviews3 followers
March 4, 2021
Painful. I was forced to read this for work. It's a four-page assignment a freshman business major could have pooped out dragged out over 137 pages.
Only read it if you're getting paid to do it.
Profile Image for Muath Aziz.
199 reviews20 followers
September 25, 2021
Raving Fans: Satisfied customers just aren’t good enough.


This book teaches us that the company needs the customers and not the other way around like many people think. It teaches us to customers are rational and aware and they know what they want (sometimes they want something that’s very specific). We should not treat them like passives as Marketing teaches in college.

Customer when they say that the service is ok, it means that it’s bad, it’s just that they lowered their expectations so low with their experiences with other companies that a bad service is ok. What you need, is raving fans. You need to imagine your customer needs, customer journey end to end, and serve him all the way. It’s nice if a supermarket have a valet parking and also offer dietary consultations based on your selected items and can offer better options if you asked for it.

The book teaches that first, you need to know what’s your vision, what’s your product and service you’re offering. Then you must listen to the customers, see what they need, but only in the context of your vision. For example you should not offer DVD rental service even if some customers ask for it, it’s a stretch from your vision.

This leads to the third point, you must be consistent is delivering your service, so only improve a step at a time, and only move to the next step after you’ve perfected the last one. With that, you’re improving your service 1% each time, but it is accumulating, then, you’re promising your customer more that expectation and you’re solidly delivering on that expectation.


The book is delivering the lesson as a story between a newly assigned area manager and his appearing-out-of-no-where-male-fairy-godmother. Funny at times, cringy at others. Lol.

It is a light read over all, and it is delivering the message very very clearly. Prose is 10 out of 10. Well done.


Overall, I can say that the book is introducing us to the concept of being customer-oriented rather than business-oriented. It doesn’t speak in details about how to make your product profitable, how to research the market and customers, how to segment, how to come up with the customer persona, how to map the customer journey, how to digitalize the service, how to create the UX/UI of the service provided within the app (the book was written in the 90s, no smart phones yet lol), how to survey your customers, etc etc.

On the other hand, the book can be a reminder for us in modern day for sticking to our vision. Companies nowadays are over-stretching their vision to meet customer satisfaction. That is wrong. The customer is not first, vision is. Also the message for having raving fans instead of satisfied fans is powerful. Also the message for improving little by little, or to put it on another way, focusing on a specific area and perfecting it before moving to the next one, is what makes you successful more than competition and to exceed customers expectations.
Profile Image for Sam.
294 reviews9 followers
January 3, 2019
Kenneth H. Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles write a parable about customer service, using a fictional area manager's meeting with a golf-playing fairy godmother of customer service named "Charlie". The audiobook is read by Rick Adamson, Kate Borges, and John Mollard, and it includes music as well as ambient noise during different scenes. The three secrets of customer service include: create your vision customer-centered; ask your customers what they want, to match their real expectations with your vision; and to always exceed expectations by 1% to maintain sustainable service growth. Readers with experience in customer service might not find much new information, while readers seeking an introductory overview of customer service practice might be satisfied.
Profile Image for Reka Beezy.
769 reviews31 followers
September 29, 2022
I had to read this book for work. It was extremely simplistic and didn’t really give much insight on how to execute the things suggested. Instead of talking about golf, I think they should live gone into detail on the main character’s business, how it work before and then how it worked after meeting the Fairy Godmother. I’m pretty sure this book was just something to put out so the author could keep getting revenue under his brand. Nothing revolutionary was truly here, but it did keep it simple. I guess simple is revolutionary with the way people overcomplicate things. I wouldn’t read this again.
Profile Image for Dean Harrington.
175 reviews1 follower
January 10, 2020
Quick, fable-styled telling of the importance of customer service. The tale is a bit idealistic, if not mystical and perhaps unrealistic but it unlocks the vision of what true customer service needs to look like, where it needs to begin and what it needs to accomplish. A real perception changer.

I'd recommend it to recent college grads heading into the job interview process. It would give them a real leg-up on assessing potential employers and provide them with meaningful talking-points of their own for those interviews.
Profile Image for Bridgette.
122 reviews
January 20, 2018
Fairy godmother of customer service?? I liked the meat of the story but wish it had been wrote more on an adult level .
Profile Image for Bernie Sotola.
23 reviews2 followers
March 30, 2022
This book should be required reading for everyone in customer service. (And everyone is in customer service.) It’s a quick and easy read. I give it 5 out of 5 “Charlie’s.”

Here are some key takeaways:

All good customer service is the result of systems.

Roll out the red carpet. Satisfied customers just aren’t good enough.

Everyone from the original purchasing agent to the end-user is a customer and your vision had better include every single one of them or you’ll never create Raving Fans.

Train your ear. First, you have to listen to the music as well as the lyrics. Often, what people really want doesn’t show up directly in what they say. They may even say one thing and mean quite another. Silence is a message and usually it’s not a good one.

When a customer complains, you know you’re hearing the truth. Listen. When a customer is a Raving Fan and is enthusiastic, listen too. But when a customer is silent or says “fine” with a smile, you have to really perk up your ears. You’ve got a problem.

Differentiate yourself from the competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.

Deliver plus one.
Deliver the vision plus one percent.

Consistency, consistency, consistency.
Consistency creates credibility.

Promise more and deliver more. Just don’t promise too much at once.

Customers allow themselves to become Raving Fans when they know they can count on you time and time again.

To be consistent you have to have systems.
Systems give you a floor. Not a ceiling.

Only an up to the minute vision can hope to create Raving Fans. The perfect vision isn’t a frozen picture of the future. Customers’ needs and wants change all the time.

Customers have needs beyond the need of the company’s product, whether it comes in a box or is a particular service. People need to feel they belong to the group. People need to feel they’re important and what they do, think and say truly matters.
Profile Image for Joshua.
46 reviews
October 27, 2020
If it wasn't for the fact that the 3 secrets to "Raving Fans" made sense, I would have given this zero stars if possible. The story is so simplified, a child could easily read this. The depth of thought simply is not there - and the worst part is, you can tell it is trying to be serious. The fictitious story approach simply does not work with business lessons as it often trivializes the whole thing as there is nothing tangible to back this up. On top of that, if you're even going to go that route, make it at least entertaining and create depth in your characters so they do not read as simplistically as a nameless background character in some children's show. Some may find this useful but I simply do not. I would much rather spend my time reading from the likes of Bob Iger, Ed Stack, Lee Cockerell, Dan Cockerell, Bill Marriott, Isadore Sharpe, or any number of businessmen who do not belittle your intelligence with such a simplified read with so little substance.

I fortunately got this book at a discount store for about $3 but in all honesty, I feel that even that was too steep a price for what little enjoyment or lessons I trimmed from this book.

If you do enjoy this book, more power to you but I could barely stomach it as I essentially practiced speed reading with it.
Profile Image for Jessa Allen.
29 reviews
February 10, 2013
My manager asked everyone in the department I work in to read this book. At first glance it's a short read with large font and lots of whitespace, so I knew it wouldn't take long to finish and I wasn't opposed to reading it. By any means though, I wasn't excited to read it. I read a lot, 95% of the time it is fiction. I was a little worried that this would be dull and like I was back in school again.

I was pleasantly surprised that they incoroprated their lessons in a cute little story about an Area Manager of a company and his Fairy Godmother (who is, in fact, a man). He takes him on trips to various places of business who are succeeding because of their service standards (AKA creating Raving Fands) and learns how he can use this in his new position.

I started and finished this book today, and I think it's a good read for anyone really. My only qualms are that some of the situations are outdated (the book was written in 1993 I believe) and I'm still confused by the layout of the book. There are no chapters yet pages end at odd spots, some of which only have a paragraph or two, the margins are weird.
Profile Image for Kevin Wunder.
2 reviews4 followers
September 17, 2010
Is customer service a dying art? It might be.

When was the last time that you had a really great experience as a consumer? What did you do after? Who did you tell?

I love the premise of this book; "satisfied customers aren't enough...you have to create raving fans".

Ken Blanchard shares (in a very anecdotal way) some very compelling principles about creating and maintaining amazing customer experiences. The book will definitely challenge the way that you currently look at the customer experience and encourage you to improve.

Blanchard outlines simple principles that will allow a business owner to improve the experience that their customers have and encourage them to create raving fans.

For more of my thoughts on this book, please visit my Raving Fans review at my business books review site.
Profile Image for Patty.
2,297 reviews100 followers
April 8, 2010
This book was recommended to me by someone on synod council. Blanchard is an expert at coming up with succinct ways to look at a topic. He has books on change, customer service and (apparently) golf, that look for very basic concepts - 2 or 3 at most.

Blanchard then takes these 2-3 topics and wraps them in an interesting story. The story is supposed to (in my opinion) capture the reader's attention and make the concepts easy to remember.

Raving Fans does this well. There are 3 concepts that the new manager is supposed to use to improve his company's customer service. I would say that this might actually work. My only concern is that money (raises, bonuses) seem to be an essential part of the plan. And at my job, we have no money for this at all.

However, I will try to find the parts I can use and apply them.
226 reviews44 followers
March 15, 2009
If you are a boss or teacher, I think this story will help inspire you to understand what it takes to get the most from your organization or classroom. "Going above and beyond" is a theme left behind in today's me-first society, but leaders and teachers who are willing to take the extra step will still get the extra results that are waiting for them. Excellent ideas, examples and applications can be found in these pages.
91 reviews
September 2, 2015
Most of this is common sense - for those who understand the importance of excellent customer service. I think we have all seen our fair share of people that will never get it. However, the important bullet points of this book could fill a pamphlet, so the authors had to spread this out with several characters and so much talk of golf in order to sell a book. (And really, do business professionals only have one hobby?) Overall, I still think it is worth a bookstore/library perusal.
Profile Image for A.
52 reviews11 followers
August 12, 2016
Super cheesy but delivers a good message. People complain that the information is too simple and that everyone should already know this, and yet customer service often sucks, plain and simple. This is over twenty years old, and I can still think of a ton of companies who need it.
14 reviews
January 25, 2008
Very simply written book that I didn't embrace. Had a character who was some guy's 'fairy god mother of service'
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