FLASHBACK: Innovative Customer Service

Originally posted August 22, 2013 and slightly edited:


I find much to like in this deceptively small book …

It’s short ~ just over a hundred pages.

It’s easy to read ~ the author writes clearly and simply.

It’s full of little vignettes and quotable quotes.

One wonders if such a short, easy, and enjoyable book could also be very valuable … fortunately, the answer is a resounding:


Chip Bell, author of The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service has provided us with a nifty resource to help us remember what really makes the difference in surprising customer service.  “The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service” cuts to the chase, but not without making sure we clearly understand the message.

As promised by the title, Chip considers nine plus principles for providing really unexpected and valuable customer service.  Not the “big picture” or sweeping corporate campaign approach, but the human to human interactions.  Chip tells stories about little things that make large differences in customer experiences, usually because they are unexpected.

My hands-down personal favorite?

Number 6:  The Campfire Story Principle   

Junior Spivey will be always in my mind.   Chip paints a rich and lasting picture of someone who talks like the folks I grew up around and who tells stories to convey knowledge.  Junior was hired to maintain the grounds of Chip’s home and could have just done that.  However, Junior taught Chip about what he was doing, why he was doing it, and what Chip could do on his own. 

Someone else might have grabbed the opportunity to just let things happen, then make money from fixing what could have been prevented in the first place.

Junior chose to share and educate …

He did so through what Chip calls “campfire stories”, valuable lessons conveyed “… nonjudgmentally, centered on the receiver, and warmed by compassion for the customer.  It is sharing, much like a friend  …”

You can just provide services or products to someone …. or you can help them get maximum enjoyment out of your product or service by teaching them.

“Customers Love Service Providers That Help Them Learn.”

This one speaks to my organic belief that life is about learning and that teaching well is an underrated and immensely valuable skill.

The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service is full of useful and engaging vignettes with little stories and large lessons about how to build truly surprising customer relationships.   Do this and you will be successful … more importantly, you will amaze and satisfy your customers.

Still appreciating and enjoying this little book in the Heartland ….



Disclaimer:  I received an advance copy of this book for review.  They paid me obscene amounts of money to say nice things about it.  All transactions were in cash and totally untraceable.  Believe all that and I have a bridge with an eastern exposure available for your investment consideration.

Chip is the author of 20 books, including Wired and Dangerous (co-authored with John Patterson) and Take Their Breath Away (also with John Patterson). He is a senior partner with the Chip Bell Group and serves as a consultant, trainer, or speaker to major organizations. Chip’s new book, The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service, is available on Amazon, Simple Truths and at select bookstores nationwide.