Bottom Line: Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service by Chip R. Bell is not the first book I have ever read about adding some zing to our interactions with other people … However, it is one of the easiest to read and understand, and by far the most visually appealing.
I found myself with a serious case of the munchies while reading this book …
Ice cream tones, numerous cookie graphics, and repetitive stress on the metaphor of cooking, with words like “sauce” and “spice” are found throughout this book.
I was prepared to treat Chip R. Bell’s deceptively short book somewhat dismissively, since it had far less verbiage and way more pictures than I expected. The darn thing did not fit with the other books on my shelf, which were mostly bigger and heavier from all the ink. I should have remembered from past experience with this author that the value of his thinking has nothing to do with the size of the book or the number of words.
When you read this book (and you should read this book), you will notice several things about Chip Bell’s writing style:
Chip has a way with words and examples, using both to great effect without wasting space or time…
This book is one of the shortest I’ve read, under 100 pages and a squat 6 ¾ X 6 ¾ inches square. It might be lost on a crowded bookcase among the larger and longer books with more “business-like” titles. Do not dismiss this title as not worth your time, because it lacks many words and many pages. The value is in what is said, not how much is said.
Missing this book would be a tragedy for anyone who cares about ramping up their customer service game and really having a blast serving others.
Chip uses diverse and engaging examples to make his points crystal clear …
His stories are drawn from all types of organizations, from giant corporations like Hewlett-Packard to a mom-and-pop hardware store, healthcare, retail, and fast food, from non-profit and profit, public and private, providers of services and products. No matter what environments you toil, you will find specific and positive examples of how to up your customer service game and stories which you will delight in retelling (with proper accreditation, of course).
Chip even draws customer service wisdom from watching a group of deer on a snowy morning, which resulted in this gem: “Always give your customers woods at their back” (pg. 76) which relates to “accessibility” sprinkles. You’ll have to read the book to learn more.
Chip likes Alliteration …
The “sprinkles” of the title are those specific enhancements to customer service that move us from simply great to “awesome”. Here are the topics of every chapter in his book: Appetizer (introductory comments), Amazement, Animation, Abundance, Ambiance, Adoration, Allegiance, Alliance, Accessible, and Adventure. If these topics catch your interest, you will be even more engaged after you read the sections on each one.
In lesser hands, this effect might just be cutesy … when Chip does it, I appreciate the help in remembering each element of innovative customer service.
‘Sprinkles adorn, enrich, enliven, and excite.” P. 11
Some ongoing themes in Chip’s message seem to include:
1) Unusual: We now expect customer service to be great and when it is not, we vote with our purses and our feet. Great customer service is not enough – we need to knock people’s socks off, then wash, pair up, and fold the customer’s socks for them.
Do what they do NOT expect us to do …
2) Unrequested: If a customer requests special treatment, we are just meeting their expectations when we do what they ask us to do. Ordering a particular flavor of ice cream is not awesome customer service. Adding something special and different to the ice cream is unexpected.
Do what the customer will LOVE, not what they will ask for …
3) Inexpensive: Awesome customer service is not about spending lots of extra money. In a high-price hotel, customers expect to receive expensive treatment. Awesome treatment does not need to cost more and it is not about throwing money at an experience. Although it may take more time and work to identify and do, passionate customer is worth it.
Do what delights, not just what costs dollars …
A Few Words About “Choice” …
One of Chip’s stories is about a HP representative who could have stayed on script, but chose to go above and beyond to give really exceptional service. The idea that we can choose to offer awesome service is essential to Chip’s message.
Consider your current situation. If you can go above and beyond, then do so and amaze your customers. However, if you are bound to a script and not allowed to deviate, even to surprise a customer, then you need to crank up your job hunt activities.
You always have a choice – if nothing else, the choice to stay or go.
“…. we remember service that comes with an experience that gives us unexpected pleasure.” (From the Introduction)
I could say much more about each part of Sprinkles, but I will spread my continued observations out through several upcoming blog posts. This one is a keeper …
Enjoying yet another great thing in a small package in the Heartland ….
Disclaimer: Received a review copy of this book before it’s public availability. Imagine me sticking thumbs in ears and going “Nyah Nyah”. Great book which needs no insincere hype from me to boost the value.