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Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service


Dennis Snow and Teri Yanovitch




Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service
Written by two of the world’s foremost authorities on service excellence

Two of the world’s foremost authorities reveal the four things world-class customer service organizations consistently do well – then take you step-by-step through the process of designing and implementing your own system for creating ‘walk through fire’ customer loyalty.

Few know this field as thoroughly as Unleashing Excellence authors Dennis Snow and Teri Yanovitch, who have counseled hundreds of companies – including AAA, American Express, Blockbuster, Cummins, Ernst & Young, ExxonMobil, Marriott, Nationwide, Nokia, Radio Shack, Scholastic and Subway. Both also spent years in key positions in the industry. During his 20-year career at the Walt Disney World Company, Snow was the founding head of the Disney Institute division that provides customized customer service training for Fortune 500 companies. As a former vice president at Philip Crosby & Associates, Yanovitch worked directly with the quality assurance legend for almost a decade before serving as a top-rated facilitator and speaker for the Disney Institute.

Originally published in 2003, this quintessential how-to guide has now been expanded and extensively updated to include the latest tools, best practices, and invaluable lessons learned from companies that have actually applied the authors’ comprehensive system for building a first-rate customer service culture from the ground up!

Filled with vital information, this second edition of Unleashing Excellence literally walks you through every aspect of the nine leadership actions required to compete in a global marketplace where products and services are becoming increasingly commoditized and the Internet provides dissatisfied customers with a powerful forum.

Examples of what’s included in Unleashing Excellence…

  • The step to implementing a winning customer service agenda is establishing your Service Improvement Team. Unleashing Excellence gives you the selection criteria and outlines individual responsibilities, meeting agendas, and ways of maximizing their effectiveness.
  • A key mistake companies make is failing to define exactly what the customer experience is supposed to be. Unleashing Excellence shows you how to develop the Service Philosophy and Standards that become the non-negotiable service expectations every employee will be expected to follow.
  • With all of the information bombarding an organization’s employees, it’s hard to know what is a priority and what isn’t. If everything is a priority, then nothing is. Unleashing Excellence describes a clear communication strategy for getting your employees on board, and keeping them informed, involved and engaged in your service initiative.
  • World-class service organizations treat training as an investment, not an expense. Unleashing Excellence provides a clear strategy for delivering effective service training to every person at every level of your organization.
  • How do some companies get their people to be so friendly? By selecting the right candidate for the right role. Unleashing Excellence breaks down the best recruitment methods, including interviewing techniques.
  • Lots of organizations use some kind of customer service measurement tool, such as a satisfaction survey, to gauge their success – but don’t know how to productively apply the data. Unleashing Excellence shows you how to measure those factors that truly matter to customers, then incorporate the results for continuous improvement.
  • When leaders fail to acknowledge employees who deliver superior service, those employees begin to think; “Why bother?” Unleashing Excellence provides guidelines for implementing three types of recognition to ensure excellence is celebrated and rewarded.
  • When employees feel set up for failure and believe that no one will listen, they often become emotionally disengaged from the organization (and from the customer). Unleashing Excellence outlines a practical system for identifying and solving service obstacles.
  • If leaders look the other way when an employee performs in an unacceptable manner, even the best improvement plans begins to collapse. Unleashing Excellence describes the process for revising your accountability tools to include the elements of your service initiative.

What Others Are Saying About Unleashing Excellence

‘‘In the restaurant business, achieving and maintaining excellent customer service is of paramount importance. Unleashing Excellence is a must read that would benefit any industry. It gives step by step guidelines that can be implemented with ease and invaluable insights that will help encourage your customers to keep coming back for more instead of leaving before the first bite.’’

Fred DeLuca, President and Co-Founder Subway Restaurants

‘‘If your organization is not fully committed to service excellence, don’t read this book. If you are fully committed, then you MUST read this book. It provides all the nuts and bolts of how to create and sustain a service culture.’’ 

Pamela Paulk, Vice President, Human Resources Johns Hopkins Health System

‘‘Business in the early twenty-first century has turned into a survival game—those who figure out how to keep their customers survive. If you need a customer service improvement plan and don’t know where to start, START HERE! Teri Yanovitch and Dennis Snow have put together a thorough guide for building a successful customer focus strategy in an organization of any size. In a plan of only 9 steps, Unleashing Excellence shows step-by-step how to build the business case for customer focus and service improvement, supported by successful business examples, guidelines and worksheets, and accountability strategies and measurement plans. The plan is logical, the book is easy to read and non-technical—highly recommended.’’

—Tom Willett, Director, Management Development Programs,
Cornell University, ILR School

‘‘Dennis Snow and Teri Yanovitch have once again authored an easy-to-read guide, rich with real-life examples of companies striving to achieve customer service excellence. We started following the simple ‘how to’ steps described in Unleashing Excellence (first edition) in June of 2004. ‘Everything speaks’ and ‘through the lens of the customer’ has changed our approach to providing great customer service. The second edition is a must read as it expands the concepts and steps necessary to take an organization to new customer service heights. In this incredibly competitive world, following these concepts will improve your business and your personal life!’’

Gary Webb, Executive Vice President—Operation, First Financial Bankshares, Inc.

‘‘Once again, the authors have pinpointed the dynamics of the changing nature of delivering customer value through a focus on excellence. Wise words for any organization to heed.’’

Dr. Robert K. Prescott, SPHR, Graduate Faculty of Management Rollins College,
Crummer Graduate School of Business

‘‘There is no shortage of books extolling the importance of excellent customer service. What distinguishes Unleashing Excellence from the others is its focus on how to do it. If you are convinced of the value of service excellence and want to know how to provide it, this book is for you.’’

Allan R. Nagle, former President, Tupperware Worldwide / former Interim Dean,
Crummer School of Business, Rollins College

‘‘Customer service is key to the success of any company. I recommend Unleashing Excellence to any company needing a ‘how to’ and ‘can do’ manual to implement service excellence in their organization.’’

Richard A. Nunis, Retired Chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

‘‘Few books written on the topic come close to the kind of thoughtful examination of the customer psyche that I’ve read here. Dennis and Teri seamlessly marry the intangible tenets of customer service philosophy with practical, easy-to-consume strategies that can help any organization transcend ‘business as usual.’ The authors illustrate their recommendations of ‘what to do’ with stories that make it easy to understand. And, Unleashing Excellence does not just tell us what, it shows us how.’’

Chuck Kegler, Director, Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter

‘‘If your organization wants to make customer service a part of your culture, Unleashing Excellence is a powerful tool. The authors, with their keen understanding of what it takes to accomplish this in any business, walk you through understanding the process and the commitment that it takes to be successful. It is truly a step by step ‘how to’ guide. If this model can help a government agency reach a 93% overall customer satisfaction rating, it can help any organization. The book also helps anyone who reads it understand that excellent customer service isn’t a ‘program’ but a ‘process’ that never ends.’’

Kimberlee Poulton, Director of Communications and Marketing,
Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise

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Quantity discounts are available for purchase of 10 or more. Please contact: Debbie at (407) 294-1855 or debbie@snowassociates.com.