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Zingerman's Guide to Giving Great Service

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Zingerman's Guide to Giving Great Service

Treating Your Customers Like Royalty


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Build a reputation for good service two ways: first, solve customer complaints completely; second, serve your employees.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Customer service is not theoretical; you want practical advice from someone with hands-on experience. Author Ari Weinzweig has the credentials to deliver first-hand advice since he actually worked at the counter of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan (and is the co-founder of its group of eight businesses). recommends this jazzy little book and the restaurant, with its good reputation and good food. It's also as expensive as any famous deli in Manhattan, which - coupled with great service - could explain how it expanded. Who can argue with success? Weinzweig's book, which is very literate despite its purple cartoons, covers the tactics he used to cultivate customers and to encourage staffers to deliver great service. He examines the obvious features of memorable service. And, in the course of retracing the basics, he often provides new insights and refreshing ideas about making customers feel special. Small business owners, service managers and human resource managers and staffers should all order a copy. Read it with a side of slaw and a big dill pickle to get the full effect.


Pleasing Everybody

Hundreds of books discuss customer service, but Zingerman's approach is different because:

  • The leaders at Zingerman's actually teach their approach to others from around the world. The more they teach it, the better they can help others implement it.
  • Good service is not a generic concept. It must be articulated so everyone understands.
  • Zingerman's makes no distinction between what they teach about great service and what they deliver to customers on a daily basis. They live what they teach.
  • Good service can be quantified. Because they can measure service satisfaction levels over a specific time period, Zingerman's leaders can see what actually works.
  • The store gives public recognition to staffers who deliver great service. Formal and informal reward systems motivate employees and reinforce good practices.

Great service transcends different industries. It is not just conceptual; it can produce demonstrable marketing and financial results. Great service should emanate from every level of your organization, so have people from every department attend training sessions. To elevate service to a strategy, ...

About the Author

Ari Weinzweig is one of the founding partners of Zingerman's Community of Businesses. He is the author of a number of articles and books on food and business. Zingerman's started as a small delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has since grown to eight businesses employing about 400 persons and grossing $25 million annually. The businesses include restaurants, a mail order operation and a training program to teach customer service to other firms.

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