Friday, August 07, 2009

Going Above and Beyond Book Review

Going Above and Beyond Going Above and Beyond by Katharine C. Giovanni

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Going Above and Beyond by Katharine Giovanni surveys lead concierges in the hospitality industry on how to exhibit the best customer service possible in business and in your personal life. This book's audience is entrepreneurs, concierges and anyone else who wants to know more about delivering exceptional customer service.
Giovanni divides the book into fifteen chapters, of which she has eleven interviews which discuss topics such as professional image, handshakes, international protocol and more. Many themes are repeated throughout the book such as being nice to customers, never say no, and do whatever the customer needs. I used to be in retail and many of these concepts in Giovanni's book are not new to me and I wished she could have delved into more detail, especially in the communications and international protocol, which was probably her most interesting chapter. For instance, I didn't know that the British think its rude to talk with your hands in your pockets or that feet are considered unclean in South Africa and India.
I loved it when Giovanni would share her customer service horror stories with us such as when she and her boys drove up to a very rude manager at the Drive Thru or when she received a rude man on the phone who wanted to speak to the boss (Giovanni is the boss, along with her husband, Ron). I could have enjoyed more of these personal anecdotes rather than have eleven interviews which really didn't say anything new or fresh. I also wanted more insight into email, speech, dress, posture and speaking. Perhaps she could have listed 10 things of not to do on a voice mail outgoing message or what not to do in an email.
Overall, this is a quick read that emphasizes how important customer service is to grow and sustain your business. My favorite line from Giovanni is, "I return everyone's email lightning fast, even when I'm on the road...this simple thing has done more for growing my business than almost anything I've done." Great advice how important it is to be nice!

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