Breakthrough service managers understand that a high-quality service encounter raises expectations for future encounters, not only those involving a customer with the same service company, but also those of its competitors. Thus, it is both a competitive weapon and a prod for continued service improvement. In a sense, high-quality service is its own best competition. The term "personal best," sought by competitive track and field athletes, applies in successful service firms as their customers' expectations are ratcheted upward and they strive to meet or exceed them with new features, variety, and positive service "surprises."