Do You Need Raving Fans?

Raving Fans Book Review Windy Lawson

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In 1999, while working at UNLV {Go Rebels} in the Sports Marketing + Sponsorship department, I was given a copy of Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles book Raving Fans. I’m sure I read it; our entire department had a meeting about it. But 20-something Windy did not appreciate this 132-page book nearly at the level 48-year-old-business-owner Windy did. 

I re-read the book on a recent rainy Saturday afternoon because reading an old book is 400 million times better than doing taxes or deep-cleaning the kitchen, even if both desperately need to be done.

Raving Fans, A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service isn’t a stuffy how-to-not-suck-at-customer-service book. It’s a call-to-arms for business owners to stop treating their customers like crap {my words}. Or, in the authors’ words, why satisfied customers just aren’t good enough.

This book was published in 1993. I’d like to think that in the 28 years since this book was published, businesses would have improved in their level of customer service. When it was published, the internet was barely a thing; social media didn’t exist, you couldn’t leave a scathing Yelp review or angrily @ a company who wronged you. 

And yet, here we are. Technology has provided a megaphone to the aggrieved and annoyed customers of the world. And that megaphone is also available to Raving Fans who think your business is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Knowing that customers will talk, who do you want doing the talking? I’ll take the Raving Fans, please and thank you.

The parable tells the story of an unnamed Area Manager whose Fairy Godmother, a golf-obsessed dude named Charlie, presents him with the framework to build a raving fan base. According to Charlie, service is so awful that customers expect to be abused. “Cold food in restaurants, dirty public washrooms, late deliveries, rejected parts, lost orders, lazy staff — it’s all normal.” 

Further, Charlie explains that as long as the abuse isn’t worse than they expected, they’re not upset. They are only satisfied because their expectations are so low, and no one else is doing any better.


There’s a Mexican restaurant near me that routinely messes up my order. One time, they gave my paid to-go order to someone else! But I keep eating there because the abuse isn’t worse than expected. 

Between Charlie and his three human helpers, he teaches the Area Manager the three secrets to creating Raving Fans. 

Secret #1: Decide What You Want

Determine the ideal way you want to serve your customers. Think through their entire journey and create a vision for their interaction with you. 

Secret #2: Discover What The Customer Wants 

Once you know your vision, discover the customers’ vision, and alter your vision to meet theirs. 

RULE #3: Deliver Plus One

Once the vision and has been clarified, consistently seek to over-deliver and continuously improve by 1%. 

Charlie knows his stuff! The advice is as relevant today as it was when the book was published. And it applies to businesses of all sizes because stunning customer service leads to raving fans, impacting the bottom line.

Borrow or Buy? I think this would be a good book to borrow, but because it’s an older title, your local library may not have a copy of it. On the flip side, because it’s an older book, you can probably buy a copy for under $10 {and then #payitforward by gifting it to a business bestie.} If you buy it through this affiliate link, I’ll make a couple of pennies, but it won’t cost you a penny more.

Wanna see the full list of books I recommend for the microbusiness owner? Check it out here.

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