Customer service has now become the only factor that enables one company to be more competitive than others in the same business.
Products can be duplicated, brands are so numerous that customers as skeptics, can no longer tell if a product is good, much less better than others. And, the quality of one product these days is pretty much the same as dozens of others. So how can your product stand out from all others and develop loyal customers?
About two-thirds of the United States’ economy consists of services, and one-third is products. This varies a little bit depending on one’s source of information, but essentially it underscores the importance of providing outstanding service to your customers if you own or work in a service-oriented firm.
This book emphasizes the importance of delivering innovative service that sparkles. What does Bell mean by that? He quotes on the cover, J. Allen Smith, CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts: “Kaleidoscope speaks to the fundamental values that drive innovative service, trust, authenticity, and genuine care.”
Essentially, that means delivering to customers what we know (and learn through long years of experience) to be of value to customers. In the quote above, four distinct items are mentioned as ‘fundamental values.’
In this attractive, colorful, square-shaped yet short book of just 110 pages, Chip Bell simply states his case for delighting customers in nine compact chapters. There is no better way I can think of, to distill his message than to name those chapters below:
- Enchantment: Add a Little Sparkle
- Grace: Honor Your Customer
- Trust: Keep Your Covenants
- Generosity: Serve It Forward
- Truth: Nurture Total Candor
- Mercy: Let It Go
- Alliance: Stay…On Purpose
- Ease: Take Care of Flow
- Passion: Be All There
Chip Bell believes in the importance of delivering the ‘core’ of a service experience that is value- unique, not just value-added. He writes: “Innovative service comes from your core; it evokes an experience of genuineness, a sense that its source is deep, not superficial.”
This book is written with simple yet powerful words that evoke strong emotions that communicate important points, empowering and enabling the reader to not just provide better service, but innovative service that evokes this response from customers: “Wow!”
It is clear and concise, and based on understanding human emotions, including our sometimes inflated egos and irrational thinking and behavior.
Chip Bell begins each chapter with a quotation. As an example, in chapter 5, Truth: Nurture Total Candor, he quotes Albert Einstein: “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”
Each chapter is also filled with real-life stories relating to the chapter title. For this chapter, he begins with this nugget of experience:
“The Delta regional jet was full. As the plane backed away from the Jetway, the flight attendant began her ritualistic safety spiel about seat belts, sudden turbulence, and the smoking rules. She ended by saying: “The flight time to Grand Rapids will be two hours…no, it will be an hour and a half…no, actually, I don’t know.” The cabin erupted with laughter and applause.”
This is a down-to-earth, very human, honest book – an excellent read, indeed.
Chip R. Bell, PhD is a senior partner with the Chip Bell Group, LLC and manages their office near Atlanta. A renowned keynote speaker, he has served as consultant, trainer, or speaker to such organizations as: Accenture, Cadillac, Caterpillar, Cornell University, Eli Lilli, GE, Harley- Davidson, Hertz, Home Depot, JC Penney, IBM, Lockheed Martin, KeyBank, Marriott, Microsoft, Nationwide, USAA, Verizon Wireless, Victoria’s Secret, and WestRock.
Prior to starting a consulting firm in the 1980s, he was Director of Management and organization for NCNB (now Bank of America). Additionally Dr. Bell was a highly decorated infantry unit commander in Vietnam with the 82nd Airborne and a guerilla tactics instructor at the United States Army Infantry School.
Chip is the author or coauthor of 21 books, many of which are national or international best sellers. Some of his previous books include: Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service (winner of a 2014 GoldenInk Award), The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service, and Wired and Dangerous (coauthored with John Patterson and a winner of the 2012 Axiom Award as well as a 2011 Independent Publishers IPPY Award).