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Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service - Review, Summary, Analysis & Facts

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service

Table of Contents

1. Book Details

Full Title:

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service




Business, Leadership, Customer Service

Number of Pages:

137 pages

Author - Who Wrote?

Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles co-authored the book.

Publication Date:

May 19, 1992

Country & Original Language:

The book was originally written in English and published in the United States.

Point of View:

The book is written in the third person and uses a fictional narrative to convey its principles and concepts.

2. Synopsis

"Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service" unveils a pioneering perspective on customer service within the realm of business. Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, the authors, introduce the transformative idea of transcending customer satisfaction to convert them into ardent supporters, or "raving fans." The narrative unfolds within the context of a fictional company, weaving a tale of its employees as they grasp and implement the principles of outstanding customer service.

At its core, the book advocates for businesses to go beyond contenting customers and instead strive to surpass their expectations, delivering an extraordinary experience. The authors articulate a straightforward yet potent three-step methodology: defining customer loyalty goals, understanding customer needs through attentive listening, and consistently providing more than anticipated, a concept coined as "delivering plus one."

The narrative weaves a compelling story, underscoring the significance of forging emotional connections with customers, comprehending their needs, and delivering unexpected value to foster enduring relationships. "Raving Fans" acts as a manual for businesses seeking to cultivate not only satisfied but fervently loyal customers, transforming them into advocates who actively endorse the business to others. Laden with practical insights and implementable strategies, the book serves as a catalyst for organizations to embrace a customer-centric ethos and revolutionize their approach to customer service.

3. Summary

A conventional perspective on customer service

Customer service revolves around the critical "moment of truth" – that pivotal instance when your business directly engages with the customer. By reengineering or enhancing these moments, you can set your business apart and attain a level of excellence in customer service.

Whether you resonate with this paradigm or harbor a different perspective, the book "Raving Fans" is poised to reshape your mindset beyond the traditional concept of "moments of truth." It introduces a realm of differentiation possibilities, providing a framework to overhaul your customer service vision beyond what you may have previously deemed achievable.

Raving Fans

We are all familiar with the influential nature of word-of-mouth marketing. Now, envision delivering a consistently exceptional level of customer service to all customers, not just a select few, making them fervent advocates (Raving Fans) of your business. These customers eagerly share their extraordinary experiences with your business every chance they get.

In "Raving Fans," authors Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles unveil three secrets. If embraced, these secrets empower readers to craft a genuinely distinctive customer service experience for their businesses. Rather than being steeped in theoretical concepts, the book illustrates its message with tangible real-life examples.


The groundbreaking work "Raving Fans" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles transforms the conventional approach businesses take towards customer service. Published in 1993, the book introduces the innovative idea of cultivating not just satisfied customers but transforming them into passionate advocates, commonly referred to as "raving fans." These fans are so captivated by the exceptional service they receive that they evolve into loyal supporters and enthusiastic promoters of the business.

The authors employ a distinctive storytelling format to convey their principles, crafting a fictional narrative around a character named Charlie. Charlie embarks on a quest to unravel the secret behind exceptional customer service.

Three Secrets to Creating Raving Fans:

Raving Fans! goes beyond the idea that satisfied customers are no longer sufficient. It emphasizes three essential principles: Decide what you want, Discover what the customer wants, and Deliver plus one. The narrative revolves around an Area Manager navigating a struggling factory who encounters a Fairy Godmother, Charlie, revealing the three magic secrets of creating raving fans.

Here are the secrets:


Decide What You Want: Formulate a vision of perfection centered on the customer's experience. Envision every detail vividly, bringing it down to the practical level within your company. Define what perfect service looks like for you.


Discover What the Customer Wants: Understand the customer's vision and be willing to adjust your own accordingly. Clarify who your ideal customer is, and ask them directly. Listening to both the explicit and implicit messages is crucial, as what customers truly desire may not always align with their words.


Deliver What the Customer Wants Plus One Percent: Focus on making a difference in specific areas, ensuring consistent delivery by limiting your goals. Strive to meet expectations consistently, with the mantra "Meet first. Exceed second." Establish systems that guide rather than restrict, allowing flexibility for ongoing improvement.

4. Analysis (lessons, take aways etc)


  1. Fostering a Customer-Centric Culture: - Lesson: Establishing a culture that prioritizes customer satisfaction necessitates unwavering commitment from leadership and alignment throughout the entire organization.

  2. Embracing Active Listening: - Lesson: Actively engaging with customer feedback and needs is indispensable for tailoring services and surpassing expectations.

  3. Cultivating "Moments of Magic": - Lesson: Proactively identifying and crafting "Moments of Magic" plays a pivotal role in creating an emotional connection that nurtures customer loyalty.

  4. Ensuring Consistent Value Delivery: - Lesson: Maintaining consistency in delivering exceptional service is crucial for building trust and fostering loyalty over the long term.

  5. Empowering Employees: - Lesson: Granting employees the authority to take ownership of customer interactions contributes to cultivating a more responsive and customer-focused environment.


  • Reaping the Rewards of Customer Loyalty: - Takeaway: Strategic investment in cultivating devoted enthusiasts results in enduring economic advantages, as loyal customers evolve into brand advocates.

  • Strategic Simplicity: - Takeaway: The straightforwardness of the three secrets offers a lucid and actionable framework applicable across various industries and business scales.

  • Conquering Challenges: - Takeaway: Acknowledging and addressing prevalent challenges in implementing excellence in customer service is imperative for sustained success.

  • Enduring Principles: - Takeaway: Despite its initial publication in 1993, the principles outlined in "Raving Fans" persist in relevance, underscoring their timeless applicability in the realm of customer service.

  • Leadership Dedication: - Takeaway: The unwavering commitment of leadership to foster a customer-centric culture stands as a foundational element for the triumph of the three secrets.


  1. Narrative Format:

  • The authors employ a narrative format to articulate their principles, using a fictional story to exemplify the application of the three secrets in creating raving fans. This storytelling approach enhances accessibility and engagement, simplifying intricate business concepts for a broader audience. The characters and scenarios offer a relatable context, facilitating a practical understanding of the principles.

  1. Foundational Principles:

  • The book's three secrets—Decide What You Want, Discover What the Customer Wants, and Deliver Plus One—serve as the bedrock of its philosophy. These principles are explicit, actionable, and applicable across diverse industries. The emphasis on leadership commitment, active listening, and consistent value delivery resonates with businesses striving to establish enduring customer relationships.

  1. Customer-Centric Culture:

  • "Raving Fans" advocates for cultivating a customer-centric culture within organizations, stressing the necessity of aligning the entire company, from leadership to frontline employees, with the objective of creating raving fans. The book encourages businesses to integrate these principles into their DNA, fostering a mindset that prioritizes customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  1. Moment of Magic:

  • The concept of the "Moment of Magic" stands out, underscoring the importance of identifying and leveraging opportunities to surpass customer expectations. This idea reinforces that exceptional service goes beyond meeting needs, emphasizing the creation of memorable and emotional experiences. It prompts businesses to proactively turn routine transactions into extraordinary moments.

  1. Employee Empowerment:

  • A noteworthy aspect of the book is its emphasis on employee empowerment. By granting employees the authority to make decisions and take initiative in serving customers, businesses can establish a more responsive and customer-focused environment. This aligns with contemporary management philosophies recognizing the role of empowered employees in delivering exceptional service.

  1. Challenges and Solutions:

  • "Raving Fans" addresses common challenges in implementing its principles, including resistance to change, inconsistency, and a lack of customer focus. Incorporating these challenges adds a practical dimension to the book, acknowledging that achieving customer service excellence may encounter obstacles. The provided solutions offer a roadmap for businesses to navigate and overcome these challenges.

  1. Long-Term Impact:

  • The book posits that creating raving fans has extensive implications for a business's long-term success. It argues that the economic benefits of customer loyalty extend beyond immediate financial gains, impacting areas such as marketing efficiency and brand reputation. This long-term perspective aligns with the evolving understanding of customer lifetime value and the importance of building enduring customer relationships.

  1. Universal Applicability:

  • A strength of "Raving Fans" lies in its universal applicability. While the book draws examples from various industries, its principles can be adapted to businesses of all sizes and types. The simplicity and clarity of the framework make it accessible to entrepreneurs, managers, and frontline staff, providing a common language for organizations striving to enhance their customer service.

  1. Timeless Relevance:

  • Despite its 1993 publication, "Raving Fans" remains relevant in the ever-changing landscape of customer expectations. Its timeless principles have endured, transcending technological advancements and market shifts. The lasting relevance of the book attests to the enduring nature of exceptional customer service principles.

  1. Critique:

  • While "Raving Fans" offers valuable insights, some critics argue that its emphasis on a simplistic, one-size-fits-all approach may not fully capture the complexities of modern customer service. Some businesses may require more nuanced strategies, particularly in the age of digital transformation and evolving customer preferences. Additionally, the book's reliance on a fictional narrative might not resonate with readers who prefer a more data-driven or case-study-based approach.

5. Review

"Raving Fans" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles stands as an enduring masterpiece that continues to shape the landscape of customer service and business strategy. With its captivating narrative style and pragmatic insights, the book serves as a guiding light for organizations aspiring to elevate their customer experiences beyond the ordinary.

Why it is Recommended:

  • Clear and Actionable Framework: "Raving Fans" presents a straightforward yet potent three-step framework that is both comprehensible and practical to implement. The transparent nature of these principles ensures accessibility for a diverse audience, spanning from frontline employees to top-tier business leaders.

  • Engaging Storytelling: Diverging from traditional business literature, "Raving Fans" adopts a narrative format, following the journey of Charlie, a central character uncovering the secrets of exceptional customer service. This storytelling approach not only makes the book engaging but also relatable, enriching the reader's grasp of the concepts.

  • Timeless Relevance: Despite its 1993 publication, the principles elucidated in the book remain pertinent in today's dynamic business environment. The emphasis on customer-centricity, active listening, and consistent value delivery surpasses technological shifts, rendering it applicable to contemporary challenges.

For Whom is Recommended:

  • Business Leaders and Managers: Geared towards leaders and managers aspiring to instill a customer-centric culture within their organizations, the book furnishes actionable strategies for aligning the entire team with the objective of creating raving fans.

  • Customer Service Professionals: Tailored for individuals in customer service roles, the book provides practical insights into exceeding customer expectations and cultivating enduring relationships. The focus on the "Moment of Magic" proves particularly valuable for those aiming to craft memorable customer interactions.

  • Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners: Highly recommended for entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking a foundational guide to customer service excellence. The book's simplicity and broad applicability make it a valuable resource for businesses of all sizes.

Why it is Worth Reading:

  • Transformative Impact: "Raving Fans" transcends conventional approaches to customer satisfaction, advocating for a transformative strategy that transforms satisfied customers into passionate advocates. The enduring impact on brand loyalty and business success justifies the investment in reading and applying its principles.

  • Practical Application: Beyond theoretical concepts, the book offers actionable insights and real-world examples that readers can immediately apply. The three secrets—Decide What You Want, Discover What the Customer Wants, and Deliver Plus One—serve as a practical blueprint for creating raving fans.

  • Employee Empowerment: A standout feature is the emphasis on employee empowerment. For organizations aspiring to empower their workforce and enhance customer interactions, "Raving Fans" provides a roadmap for fostering a culture of ownership and initiative.

  • Universal Relevance: The book's principles transcend specific industries or business types. Whether in retail, hospitality, technology, or any other sector, the universal applicability of the principles makes "Raving Fans" a versatile and enduring guide.

6. About the Author

About the Author: Ken Blanchard


Ken Blanchard, born on May 6, 1939, is a distinguished author, speaker, and management expert. He holds a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Supervision from Cornell University, marking the foundation of a remarkable career in leadership and management.

Renowned for groundbreaking contributions to leadership, Blanchard is a prolific author with numerous bestselling books that have become essential reading for global business leaders. As the co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies, a leading global force in workplace learning and development, he has garnered accolades for his substantial impact on the realms of business and literature.

A sought-after speaker, Blanchard has delivered keynote addresses and training sessions for a spectrum of organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit entities. His influence extends beyond the written word, shaping leadership philosophies and management practices worldwide.

What Inspired the Author to Write "Raving Fans":

The genesis of "Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service" lies in Blanchard's profound comprehension of the dynamics between businesses and their customers. Recognizing the transformative potential of exceptional customer service, Blanchard aimed to distill the essence of creating not merely satisfied customers but passionate advocates.

Motivated by the conviction that traditional customer satisfaction fell short for sustained success, Blanchard envisioned a guide empowering businesses to surpass expectations and cultivate raving fans. His inspiration stemmed from the aspiration to offer a universally applicable, practical framework transcending industry or organizational size.

Blanchard's dedication to empowering leaders and organizations played a pivotal role in shaping "Raving Fans," aiming to equip businesses with actionable insights to elevate their customer service practices.

Influences from the Author's Life in the Novel:

Blanchard's personal experiences and observations in the business world undeniably shape the narrative and principles of "Raving Fans." As a luminary in management and leadership, Blanchard's profound insights into organizational dynamics, effective leadership, and the pivotal role of customer service are interwoven into the novel's fabric.

Furthermore, Blanchard's commitment to lifelong learning and continuous improvement, principles he ardently advocates, serves as a thematic underpinning in the book. The emphasis on adapting and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of customers mirrors Blanchard's own philosophy of maintaining agility in a dynamic business environment.

Moreover, the book's focus on employee empowerment resonates as a reflection of Blanchard's belief in the transformative potential of engaged and motivated teams. His advocacy for fostering positive workplace cultures manifests in the novel's portrayal of businesses prioritizing and investing in their employees.

In essence, "Raving Fans" transcends being a mere theoretical exploration of customer service; it encapsulates Ken Blanchard's life work, integrating his experiences, insights, and dedication to facilitating organizational thriving through exceptional leadership and customer-focused practices.

7. Book Club Questions

Book Club Discussion Questions for "Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles:

Character and Story:

  • How did you connect with Charlie's character and his journey in uncovering the secrets to creating raving fans?

  • Did his experiences resonate with your own encounters as a customer?

Practical Application:

  • Have you come across businesses successfully implementing the three secrets outlined in the book—Decide What You Want, Discover What the Customer Wants, and Deliver Plus One?

  • How might these principles be applied in your workplace or business?

Moment of Magic:

  • Can you recall a personal experience where a business created a "Moment of Magic" for you?

  • How did that experience influence your perception of the business, and did it contribute to your loyalty as a customer?

Employee Empowerment:

  • In the stories shared in the book, how did employee empowerment contribute to the success of businesses in creating raving fans?

  • How can organizations empower their employees to take ownership of customer interactions?

Challenges and Solutions:

  • The book addresses common challenges in implementing exceptional customer service. Have you encountered similar challenges in your professional life, and how might the solutions presented in the book be applied in different industries?

Leadership and Culture:

  • How does leadership commitment contribute to the creation of a customer-centric culture, as emphasized in the book?

  • In your opinion, what role does leadership play in fostering a culture of exceptional customer service?

Long-Term Impact:

  • The book argues that creating raving fans has long-term economic benefits for businesses. Can you think of examples where customer loyalty has had a significant impact on a company's success or failure?

Timeless Relevance:

  • Considering that the book was published in 1993, do you find the principles outlined by Blanchard and Bowles still relevant in today's business landscape?

  • How have customer expectations evolved, and how can businesses adapt these principles to the digital age?

Personal Takeaways:

  • What are some practical takeaways from the book that you can apply in your personal or professional life?

  • How might the principles influence your approach to customer service or leadership?

Comparisons with Other Customer Service Philosophies:

  • Are there other customer service philosophies or books that you've encountered, and how do they compare to the principles presented in "Raving Fans"?

  • What unique aspects or insights does this book offer?

8. Reading Plan

Week 1: Introduction and Part 1 (Pages 1-45)

  • Days 1-2: Begin by reading the Introduction and initiating Part 1. Familiarize yourself with the book's purpose and the core concepts introduced by the authors.

  • Days 3-4: Continue your exploration of Part 1, covering the foundational principles of cultivating raving fans.

  • Days 5-7: Reflect on the presented ideas and consider how they align with your current understanding of customer service.

Week 2: Part 2 (Pages 46-90)

  • Days 8-10: Commence your journey into Part 2, immersing yourself in the stories and examples illustrating the practical application of the three secrets.

  • Days 11-14: Progress in your reading, contemplating the real-world scenarios provided. Ponder on how these examples can be applied across diverse business contexts.

Week 3: Part 3 and Conclusion (Pages 91-137)

  • Days 15-17: Embark on Part 3, exploring the challenges and solutions in implementing exceptional customer service.

  • Days 18-20: Conclude your reading with the final chapters and the conclusion. Summarize the key takeaways and insights.

  • Day 21: Dedicate time to reflect on the overall message of the book and consider how you might integrate these principles into your personal or professional life.

Additional Tips:

  • Set aside time for note-taking or journaling as you progress through the book. Capture key concepts, intriguing examples, and personal reflections.

  • Opt for a more immersive experience by reading the book in one or two sittings, or spread it out over a more extended period to fit your schedule.

  • Engage with fellow readers through a book club, discussion forums, or social media. Share your thoughts and learn from the perspectives of others.

  • Enjoy the reading process and embrace the opportunity to gain valuable insights into creating exceptional customer experiences. Adjust your pace based on your preferences, and feel free to revisit sections for deeper understanding.

9. Facts & Curiosities

  • Collaboration of Authors:

Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles co-authored the book, bringing together their expertise in leadership and business. Ken Blanchard, a highly respected author in the field of leadership and management, collaborated with Sheldon Bowles, a Canadian business executive, to offer a unique perspective in "Raving Fans."

  • Part of the One Minute Manager Series:

"Raving Fans" is a part of the One Minute Manager series, a compilation of management and leadership books co-authored by Ken Blanchard. The series includes well-known titles such as "The One Minute Manager" and "Gung Ho!"

  • Written in a Narrative Format:

Diverging from traditional business literature, the book presents its principles through a fictional narrative. The story unfolds around a character named Charlie, making the concepts more accessible and engaging for readers.

  • Influence on Customer Service Philosophy:

The impact of "Raving Fans" extends globally, significantly influencing how businesses approach customer service. Its emphasis on creating passionate advocates beyond mere customer satisfaction has left a lasting mark on customer service philosophies.

  • Published in Multiple Languages:

Demonstrating its worldwide influence, "Raving Fans" has been translated into multiple languages, ensuring a diverse audience can access its insights and principles.

  • Continued Relevance:

Despite its 1993 publication, the principles in the book remain applicable in today's business landscape. The focus on crafting memorable customer experiences and fostering loyalty proves timeless, transcending both time and technological advancements.

  • The Concept of "Plus One":

The book introduces the concept of "Deliver Plus One," underscoring the significance of surpassing customer expectations by providing additional value. This idea has become a fundamental principle in discussions about customer service.

  • Application Beyond Business:

While its primary focus is on business and customer service, the principles in "Raving Fans" have found relevance in various sectors, including education, healthcare, and non-profit organizations. This showcases the versatility of its concepts.

  • Ken Blanchard's Lifetime Achievement:

Ken Blanchard, one of the authors, has been recognized with numerous awards for his substantial contributions to leadership and management. In 2019, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Trust Across America-Trust Around the World.

  • Educational and Training Impact:

The concepts from "Raving Fans" have been seamlessly integrated into training programs and seminars, providing valuable insights for businesses and organizations aiming to enhance their customer service strategies.

10. FAQ

What is the central theme of the book?

The central theme revolves around the idea of creating passionate advocates or "raving fans" by exceeding customer expectations. The authors present a three-step approach—Decide What You Want, Discover What the Customer Wants, and Deliver Plus One—to revolutionize customer service.

How is the book structured?

The book is structured in a narrative format, telling the story of a character named Charlie who seeks guidance on creating raving fans. The principles and concepts are presented through Charlie's journey and real-world examples.

What are the three secrets to creating raving fans?

The three secrets are:

  • Decide What You Want: Set clear goals for customer loyalty.

  • Discover What the Customer Wants: Actively listen to customer needs.

  • Deliver Plus One: Consistently exceed customer expectations by delivering a little extra.

Is this book applicable only to specific industries?

No, the principles outlined in "Raving Fans" are designed to be universal and can be applied across various industries and businesses of different sizes.

How does the book address challenges in implementing exceptional customer service?

The book discusses common challenges, such as resistance to change and inconsistency, and provides practical solutions for overcoming these obstacles.

Is "Raving Fans" only for business professionals?

While the book is focused on customer service in a business context, the principles can be valuable for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics of exceptional service, including entrepreneurs, managers, and individuals in various industries.

Are there real-world examples in the book?

Yes, the book includes real-world examples and stories that illustrate how businesses have successfully implemented the principles to create raving fans.

How does the book address employee empowerment?

Employee empowerment is a key theme in the book. It emphasizes the importance of empowering employees to make decisions and take initiative in providing outstanding customer service.

What is the impact of creating raving fans, according to the book?

The book argues that creating raving fans leads to long-term economic benefits, including increased repeat business, positive word-of-mouth, and reduced marketing costs.

11. Books Related

If you enjoyed "Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service" and are interested in exploring similar topics related to customer service, business excellence, and leadership, here are some recommended books:

"The One Minute Manager" by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

  • This is another influential book co-authored by Ken Blanchard. It introduces practical management principles, including the concept of "one-minute" goal setting, praising, and redirecting.

"Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose" by Tony Hsieh

  • Written by the late CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, this book shares insights into building a customer-centric culture and delivering exceptional service through stories from the journey of Zappos.

"Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless" by Jeffrey Gitomer

  • Gitomer explores the distinction between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, offering strategies for building long-lasting customer relationships.

"The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary" by Joseph A. Michelli

  • Michelli delves into the success of Starbucks, examining the principles that contribute to creating an extraordinary customer experience.

"The Thank You Economy" by Gary Vaynerchuk

  • Gary Vaynerchuk explores the impact of social media on customer relationships and how businesses can leverage these platforms to build authentic connections with customers.

"Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't" by Simon Sinek

  • Simon Sinek explores the role of leadership in creating a positive and inspiring work culture, which contributes to exceptional customer service.

"Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action" by Simon Sinek

  • Another impactful book by Simon Sinek, it focuses on the importance of defining a clear sense of purpose to inspire both employees and customers.

"Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service" by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni

  • Drawing on Disney's renowned customer service, this book provides insights into creating a magical customer experience by paying attention to details and fostering a customer-centric culture.

"ZAG: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands" by Marty Neumeier

  • Neumeier discusses the concept of "zagging" as a strategy for differentiation in the marketplace, offering a fresh perspective on branding and customer engagement.

"Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results" by Jack Mitchell

  • Jack Mitchell shares his experiences as a retail executive and presents a customer-centric approach that focuses on personalization and building meaningful connections.


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