How do you stand out as a business? There are many ways to respond to that question but customer service is always a top differentiator. A lot of customers will pay more for a product, service or brand if you offer a unique experience and treat customers as a top priority.
One of my favorite and prominent authors in the field of customer service is Chip Bell. And he has a new book out this week called, Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles. I have supported Chip’s books in the past and I am excited to be able to support him again with the launch of Kaleidoscope.
Add a Little Sparkle to Your Service
In his newest book on innovative service, bestselling author Chip R. Bell focuses on the importance of delivering the ”core” of a service experience in a fashion that is value-unique, not just value-added. In his own words, ”Innovative comes from your core; it evokes an experience of genuineness, a sense that its source is deep, not superficial.” This wonderful book offers powerful, practical advice, along with engaging stories of ways a novel service experience can also be one that is profound.
The following is a special guest post from Chip Bell.
Be the Customer
Several years ago my business partner and I were working with a large wholesale auto auction company. Some of their auction locations were near major harbors—like Oakland, CA and Miami, FL—and thus frequented by international auto buyers purchasing cars to export. We were asked to follow the process from auction purchase to titling to transporting to containerization to customs and ship loading in order to make recommendations on how to make the process easier for their customers. We called the insight-producing consulting project “Being a Car.”
With the current rave of customer journey mapping I have reflected on how different the learning is from mapping to following the map as a customer. We make too many unrealistic and erroneous assumptions when we produce customer information without actual experience and customer participation. It reminds me of a story about Pablo Picasso.
The renowned painter was on a train to Barcelona. Recognized by another passenger, he was forced into an unwanted conversation and critique. “Why don’t you paint reality instead of these distortions,” the passenger asked the master. “So what do you think reality looks like?” responded Picasso. “Here, like this. It’s my wife,” the man replied as he showed the great artist a photo of his wife taken from his wallet.”
“Really?” said Picasso. “But, she’s very small…and flat, too!”
Customer information, no matter how accurate, is like a photo from a wallet. The only way to get inside the mind of the customer is to stand in the customer’s shoes and experience their world just as they do.
My wife and I share the same hairdresser. Some time ago, Johnny Adair, had a permanent. “I wanted to experience what my female customers go through every time I give them a permanent!” He made adjustments in his comfort-creating practices based on his learning’s. He could have done a focus group on, “What’s its like to get a permanent.” That would be small and flat. Instead, he used his ingenuity to “Be the Customer.” What are ways you can gain a three-dimensional perspective on your customers” experience?
About the Book
About the Author
Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several national best—selling books. His newest book is the just-released Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles. He can be reached at chipbell.com.