Everyday Service Grace

“Thank you for being my customers,” the shop owner said to a group of prospects who seemed to be loitering in his small mall-based store.  The uniqueness of his statement was that it was directed at three teenagers each with very loud dispositions, extremely baggy pants, and earphones hooked to their IPods.  Out of earshot of the owner, one young man remarked to his buddies, “Man, we gotta buy something!”  As they left the check-out counter, the proprietor shot point blank one final blast of benevolence: “Please visit me again.”

Grace is typically used in a religious setting —it means “unmerited favor or love.”  Applied to customer service it is generosity expressed in an unlikely context.  It is an assertion, not a response; an attitude, not a tactic.  We get a glimpse when we witness a “random act of kindness.”  Only service grace is not random it is perpetual.  It causes customers to act their best.  Like some chemical mixture, when compassion meets caustic all acidity disappears.  It tames hostility, enriches ordinary, and adds “a story to tell” to “I got my money’s worth.”  Are you delivering service grace to your customers?

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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