Book Review | Excellence Wins

Excellence Wins by Horst Schulze is a great read for anyone who is consumed with the idea of serving others well. Schulze is a well known leader in this area in his work with Ritz-Carlton as well as many other organizations. Remember that employees of Ritz-Carlton are authorized to spend up to $2,000 as needed to make a customer happy…without asking for permission. Want to find out how they make that work on the balance sheet? Check out this read…it’s a great one. There are so many helpful tips as well as a good many laugh out loud stories of customer service challenges and opportunities!

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • Horst and I clearly agree that profit is the applause you get for creating a motivating environment for your people so that they will take care of your customers.- Ken Blanchard, p. 9 
  • A better form of benchmarking is to measure how you’re doing compared to how you were doing a year ago or three years ago. Are you making headway? Do you have a higher percentage of people who are pleased with your service? p. 30               
  • Real knowledge of the customer is absolutely essential. Without it, you cannot serve your market in a way that is superior to the competition. p. 33               
  • No matter what field you’re in, I can guarantee (after processing thousands of customer comments) that the people you serve want three main things. First, they want a product or service or other output with no defects.  p. 33              
  • Second, the people we serve want timeliness. p. 37              
  • Finally, they want the person with whom they’re dealing to be nice to them. p. 37              
  • Individualization. People want to be able to tweak a product to their own likes—which makes it challenging for any of us who aspire to serve large numbers of people.  p. 39              
  • Personalization. No sound on earth is as sweet to a person’s ears as their own name.  p. 41             
  • understanding what means most to the public we serve is essential, even if it is not always easy. p. 44               
  • Customer service starts the instant you make contact with an individual.p. 46               
    • The first step of service is offering a great welcome. p. 47              
    • The second step is complying with the customer’s wishes.  p. 48             
    • Now comes the final part of customer service, which is saying good-bye.  p. 48              
    • A sincere good-bye makes people feel positive about a return visit. Whatever skepticism they may have harbored about the organization is being replaced by trust. Inside their head, they’re saying, They sound like they like me. Maybe I’ll go back again.  p. 49             
  • To make customer service a reality, not just a label, we have to hire the right kind of people and orient them thoroughly at the start, and then we have to repeat our values again and again. Every last employee contributes to creating loyalty among customers. p. 54               
  • We must not be distracted from the four supreme objectives of any organization that wants to succeed:            1.  Keep the customer.            2.  Get new customers.            3.  Encourage the customers to spend as much as possible!—but without sabotaging Objective Number One.            4.  In all of the above, keep working toward more and more efficiency.   p. 62            
  • If an entire organization from top to bottom is committed to keeping the customer, trying as hard as possible to understand them and meet their expectations, the results will show in a marvelous way.   p. 63            
  • Each and every difficulty is an opportunity to advance the trust quotient or to squander it. p. 78 
  • The difference maker is consistently delivering what the customer wants in the first place and assumes they’ll be getting from us. Only then will they keep choosing to give us the privilege of their business. p. 92              
  • human beings cannot relate to orders and directions. They relate instead to motives and objectives. p. 99
  • The process of building great employees involves four things: first, initial selection; next, inspiring orientation; then, initial teaching of specific job functions; and finally, sustaining what has been taught. This requires a conscious system that is diligently pursued. p. 120

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