by Jane Anderson, Featured Contributor
WHEN WAS the last time you read a book – just for fun? Was it a non-fiction book devoted to inspiring great customer service? I didn’t think so. Listen to this. I read this book because of the title. I am absolutely in love with the word ‘innovative’ and because I believe my calling is to serve others, the title alone was a magnet. When I got the book in the mail I was even more pleased because I recognized it as a) a quick read, b) I loved how the chapters were peppered with wisdom quotes from the masters of customer service, and c) I loved the square size that fits between my bookends holding other books previously purchased from Simple Truths. But enough about the why. You need to know what makes the book’s content so rich.
Quote: “The one sure way to fail is to be boring”. Well – if that’s the case, this book will not fail because it’s certainly not boring. I’m going to take the express route through the book but when you get your copy you’re going to want to slow down and take the scenic route so you don’t miss anything. Chip Bell tells stories from real life organizations to help you implement these principles in your business.
9 ½ Principles – You’ve heard of value-add? That is so last decade. Today it’s Value-Unique, everything else is vanilla.
- The Cracker Jack Principle – Pretend the service you deliver is like a gift delivered on your customer’s birthday. Put a surprise inside that breaks the monotony and communicates a caring attitude and fosters an infectious spirit that your customers want to narrate to others. Think creatively. Think Zappos.
- The “Big Boy” Event Principle – Customers love service connections with respect. Listen to your customers as if you were listening for the winning ticket number at a raffle. “To be successful you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart.” Thomas Watson, Sr.
- The Purpling Principle – Always give your customers the royal treatment. Purpling is creating service processes that ensure red-carpet ease, not a thorn-filled path of excess effort, unexpected dissonance, and policies written in the language of distrust. Boldly summon customers on a journey to collective joy much like a child welcoming a close friend to a treehouse filled with secrets. “Give the customer more than they expect.” Nelson Boswell
- The Speed Limit 23 MPH Principle – Why would anyone post a speed limit of 23 mph? It’s a sensory spark to ignite memory. Stimulate visual senses to create memory-making experiences. “Do what you do so well that people want to see it again and bring their friends.” Walt Disney
- The Circus Principle – Chip Bell describes the excitement and anticipation even before an event like the circus comes to town. Customer experience is enhanced through anticipation – set with meticulous attention to optimizing build-up much like “enchanting service is coming to town”. Using examples from Disney, Nordstroms, and Universal Studios the author explains how effective service becomes when sensory appeal is created. How about this for a motto? “Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer.” Any guesses? It’s Macy’s Motto
- The Campfire Story Principle – Customers love service providers who help them learn. Hardwire wisdom into service. Be a customer mentor. Be a customer coach. Customers love to learn if the journey is more like a story than a chore. Here’s one thing you can do today, or maybe tomorrow if you’re reading this at midnight. Change the parting message of your customer service help desk. Instead of “Is there anything else I can help you with?” have them ask “What can I help you learn more about today?”
- The Fly Fishing Principle – Customers love monogrammed service. So how does that relate to fly fishing? Interesting metaphor here. I’ve fished and caught many kinds of fish in my lifetime, but never a trout and never by fly fishing. Aren’t you curious for the explanation? It’s on page 72 in the book, but here’s a hint. Monogramming service takes time; it cannot be knee-jerk or fast response. It must be unique, sincere, and authentic. “One customer well taken care of could be worth more than $10,000 worth of advertising.” Jim Rohn
- The Easy Button Principle – “Are you totally thrilled with your order?” Innovative customer service means you are always going for “yes!”. What would it take for your customer to say yes, every time they were asked “Are you totally thrilled with your order?” Look at your service through the lens of your customer. Is your service more like an easy button or a kill switch?
- The Panning for Gold Principle – Sooner or later you’re going to have to turn an OOPS into an opportunity. Great service takes humility and compassion. Great service says you are there to fix, not fight. When you pan for gold, there’s a technique that ensures you remove the water and dirt slowly, gently, and attentively before all that remains in the pan is precious gold
9 ½ – You know what? I’m not going to give this one away. It struck me as so remarkable, I would have suggested it as the main theme of the entire book, not just a half value principle. I’ll give you a hint though – It’s a delicious mix of innovate service.