Service Excellence Reading List

I’m often asked to provide a reading list on how to compete on service excellence. There are some great public sources out there. Below is a first cut (if you want more focused recommendations, please let me know), and I will plan to update this post on a regular basis.

Harvard Business Review Articles

  1. The Four Things a Service Business Must Get Right – if you’ll indulge me, I’ll start with my own article on how to design for service excellence.
  2. The Contribution Revolution – Scott Cook on how to more heavily involve customers in performing a company’s work.
  3. Companies and the Customers Who Hate Them – Gail McGovern and Youngme Moon on how companies can avoid antagonizing their customers.
  4. Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work – Alfie Kohn’s somewhat controversial argument on why monetary incentives send the wrong signal in a corporation.


  1. The Ownership Quotient –  A book about getting employees and customers to behave like owners from the authors of The Service Profit Chain (which revolutionized service management).
  2. Customer Mania – A book about building a customer-focused company by Ken Blanchard and co-authors.
  3. Competing on Analytics – A book about using the ever-increasing data accumulating in firms in smart and creative ways from Tom Davenport and Jeanne Harris.

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