Service Innovation: Give Customers an Occasional Miracle

 

A Boston family adopted an Asian girl.  No sooner had she arrived in the U.S. than the family learned she needed to have major surgery.  The nine year old child––who spoke only Chinese and had life experiences limited to a small Chinese village and her trip to the U.S.––was very anxious.  As she was about to be discharged following successful surgery she was asked through an interpreter, “What most surprised you about your stay here at Children’s Memorial Hospital of Boston?”  The child smiled and proudly responded, “I did not know my doctor would be Chinese!”        

The occasional service miracle has many advantages. Organizations that promote a perpetual “exceeding customer expectations” approach can leave the front line in search of ever more costly gestures to keep the standards climbing.  At some point the organization runs out of room to one-up the last experience while the budget is left empty. Occasional miracles provide a creative gesture to get you out of this linear rut.

Just like planning a surprise birthday party, miracle-making can be as beneficial to the creators as the recipients.  The pursuit of an occasional miracle helps service providers think differently about customers–  connections are more personal; communications more attentive.  It also causes employees to think creatively about every aspect of their role, not just those related to serving the customer.  Finally, when people are a part of a culture that strives for innovative service, there is a greater sense of passion conferred on customers who reciprocate with their affirmation, gratitude, and devotion.  What can you do to turn ordinary into miraculous?  Who in your organization is a “miracle maker”? Have you thanked them recently for all they do for your organization?

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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