A Touch of Great Service

I had forgotten about the power of the Steven Spielberg’s movie ET: The Extraterrestrial. I recently watched a rerun on TV.  The heart-warming film used as its billboard advertising symbol the outstretched, magical finger of the extraterrestrial main character. The pose carried a spiritual symbolism not unlike Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel.

Every religion has placed great reliance on the power of touch.  Likewise, every civilized society has used some form of touch as the gesture of social intimacy.  Touch litters our language.  “Let’s shake on it” is a token of agreement.   “Give her a hand” is an invitation for affirmation.  “Hand in marriage” communicates a symbol of union.  “Touch” is itself a loaded word.  Its meanings range from physical contact (as in “don’t touch that hot stove”) to emotional connection (as in “that book really touched me”) to style (as in “he has that special touch”).  All these meanings are relevant for creating customer loyalty.

Service is more than a process by which we get our needs met.  It is an experience that resonates with our heart; a rendezvous which engages our emotion.  The manner in which the service provider manages these experiences can turn a routine encounter into a truly magical moment.   The emotional touch of service is the connection that can kindle a sense of kinship and stimulate a bond of loyalty.  What can you do to provide the “touch” that signals a special, memorable connection with your customers?

Chuck Salter writes a great piece in Fast Company about how the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A uses emotional connection to build deep customer loyalty.

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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