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Discovering the Soul of Service

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Discovering the Soul of Service

The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success

Free Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Perfect service is easy. All it takes is values-driven leadership, focus, execution, trust-based relationships, generosity, investment in employee success and cultivation of customer satisfaction. Oh, is that all?

Editorial Rating



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Leonard L. Berry takes an in-depth look at how service can sustain the success of a business in this detailed, footnoted exploration that includes plenty of interviews and examples from the business world. Written authoritatively, yet conversationally, this book outshines similar works because of its thoroughness. Far from a quick-fix, self-help business guide, the book is thoughtful and doesn’t rely on the obvious. getAbstract recommends it to managers and leaders in all businesses, particularly if your competitive edge rests on pleasing your customers.


Sustaining Service Success

Since customers expect products to be of high quality, service is the element that most often separates one competitor from another. The most important factor in the success of a service business isn’t corporate practice, but humane values. Values-driven leadership is one of the nine key elements of service success. The full list is:

  1. Values-driven leadership.
  2. Focus.
  3. Excellent execution.
  4. Trust-based relationships.
  5. Generosity.
  6. Investment in employee success.
  7. "Acting small."
  8. Controlling your own destiny.
  9. Cultivating your brand to drive customer satisfaction, innovation and growth.

You can incorporate these key customer-service values in your business by noting the experiences of award-winning companies that practice this approach to service.

These companies include 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.

Three ...

About the Author

Leonard L. Berry  holds the J.C. Penney Chair of Retailing Studies, and is professor of marketing and director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University. A former national president of the American Marketing Association, he is the author of eight other books, including On Great Service He is a board member of CompUSA, Hastings Entertainment, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. and the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

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    E. R. getAbstract 1 decade ago
    Dear Patricia - Thanks very much for your thorough, informed response to this abstract. If you want to read a couple of other book summaries that relate to customer service - and in the hotel industry specifically, you might like The New Gold Standard about the Ritz-Carlon chain and The Power of We by Jonathan Tisch of the Loew's hotels. (E. Rauzin, Managing Editor, getAbstract)

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