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Service America

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Service America

Doing Business in the New Economy


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Ask not what your customer can do for you. Ask what you can do for your customer.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


This often-quoted classic still has a lot to say about the service frenzy of today’s market, a phenomena that it predicted in its first edition more than fifteen years ago. Karl Albrecht and Ron Zemke have written a powerful, no-nonsense book filled with illustrative examples. If many of their insights seem to be common sense by now, it is only because so many of them have become a part of our collective business unconscious. If this volume was prophetic then (1985), it is indispensable now. recommends this book to managers and executives throughout the corporate hierarchy.


Service: Why You Can’t Ignore It

Services appear in many shapes and sizes. The "help me" type is the easiest to envision and includes everything from transportation and communications services to real estate and legal services. These services help customers navigate their lives.

But if you begin to think beyond this classic form of service, you will see that service is much more pervasive. The "fix it" service is another branch of the tree. When something breaks, a "fix it" service repairs it. However, an added dimension of "fix it" service makes it less tangible. One of the best new ways to distinguish yourself in the hard goods industry is to build a service reputation into your product. The "fix it" service extends to problems that have not cropped up yet.

The traditional "fix it" service fixes things after they’re broken. A variation on this concept is a company that promises to fix its product if it should break. Many times customers will buy from your company not because they perceive your product as superior, but because your service is guaranteed.

This value-added service never really reaches a tangible level. It feels like the Golden Rule: treat...

About the Authors

Karl Albrecht is a management consultant and author of twenty books dealing with business performance. He chairs Karl Albrecht International, which oversees the practical application of his ideas. Ron Zemke is the founder and president of Performance Research Associates, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in service quality audits. He has hosted a number of films on service management and is a well-known business writer.

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