Book Review: Uncommon Service

Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of your Business.
by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss

I've read a lot of books about customer service and I must admit that many of them tend to blur together. As I read Uncommon Service, my excitement grew because I realized I was reading something that was, well, uncommon.

This book is a practical guide for leaders who want to use service to strategically differentiate their companies from the competition. The central premise is that great service fundamentally comes from the choices made in assembling an organization's business model.

One of the biggest take-aways for me was that companies can't do everything well. Smart companies understand what their customers truly value and excel at that while allowing themselves to be mediocre or even poor in even other areas. It's a trade-off necessary to focus time, energy, and resources on what really counts.

I immediately thought of In-N-Out Burger as I read about this concept. They focus on burgers and fries rather than offer a wide selection of entries like other fast food restaurants, but their burgers are really, really good. (A few years ago, I reviewed a terrific book about their story.)

I enthusiastically recommend Uncommon Service if you are interested in customer service from a strategic perspective.