Featured Product
This Week in Quality Digest Live
Quality Insider Features
Akhilesh Gulati
To solve thorny problems, you can’t have either a purely internal or external view
Daniel Croft
Noncontact scanning for safer, faster, more accurate, and cost-effective inspections
National Physical Laboratory
Using Raman spectroscopy for graphene and related 2D materials
Ashley Hixson
Partnership with Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division provides employable metrology skills
Lily Jampol
Here’s why that’s a problem

More Features

Quality Insider News
Alliance will help processors in the US, Canada, and Mexico
Makes it easy to perform all process steps, from sample observation to data analysis
General, state-specific, and courses with special requirements available
New features revolutionize metrology and inspection processes with nondimensional AI inspection
Annual meeting in Phoenix, April 26–28
Engineering and computer science students receive new lab and learning opportunity
Strategic partnership expands industrial machining and repair capabilities

More News

Innovating Service With Chip Bell

Quality Insider

The Sounds of Great Quality

For innovative service, pump up the volume

Published: Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 01:00

Disclaimer: I love John Coltrane, Billie Holliday, and Count Basie. Great jazz, to me, ranks right up there with Einstein’s theory of relativity and Newton’s laws of motion in terms of insightful genius. Smooth jazz with a glass of wine and a roaring fire can be the catalyst for a special evening guaranteed to yield a next-morning smile. But…

I had done my microphone and slide deck check and walked the large stage—all rituals a keynote speaker performs before the meeting planner lets participants enter the ballroom to begin a conference. I was to be their opening act. The guy on the soundboard was searching for the right song for the walk-in music. His colleague suggested a jazz piece. 

“Hell, no,” soundboard guy exclaimed, like a temperamental artist who was overdue a cup of strong coffee. “This is not a moment for mellow. It’s way too early for jazz. We need get-up-and-go music!” Then he inserted his final I-am-the-boss command: “Besides, I just saw this guy’s slides about innovative service. We need inspiration, not sedation.”

Setting the right mood

The Delta Airlines gate attendant announced before the boarding began, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement. This is a special smile flight. In addition to your boarding pass, we will need you to give us your best smile as you board. If you do not have a smile, we will be happy to give you one of ours. Welcome aboard!”

People responded; they were more courteous to each other, more helpful with luggage, and more cooperative in boarding quickly. As someone who flies every week, this was the one of the happiest planeloads of passengers I have seen, and all because the gate attendant decided to liven up the beat and ramp up the mood for the walk-in music!

Hotels can do it, too

It was magical stay at the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, Virginia. Every single employee treated me like I was the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol, there to bring him or her a fortune. The doorman greeted me like I had just arrived for our family reunion. The room service person complimented me on my dinner choice. Dinner came with a bud vase and flower. The housekeeper bowed as I was leaving my room and thanked me for staying. It was a hotel filled with energy and passion. I just had to discover the cultural ingredient that created such wonderful outcomes.

“Where might I find the general manager?” I asked the front desk clerk as I was checking out. Without hesitation she said, “Mr. Matt is right over there near the front door.” I thought to myself, “Where else should I have expected? He would obviously be up close and personal to where the action is, not sequestered in a back office.”

After I introduced myself and complimented his property, I asked: “As the GM, what is it you add to the experience to create the culture you have here?” 

He smiled. “Before I answer your question, sir, let me ask you one: How did the people in our hotel make you feel?”

“Joyful,” I responded.

“Wonderful,” he said. “That is what I try to add to the experience of our associates—a feeling of joy. We work to always surprise you, like finding a joyful treasure you weren't expecting.” 

If innovative service were a musical genre it would have the passion of a tango and the connection of a square dance. It would be performed in the key of joy. It would be as inclusive as a sing-along, as animated at a happy cadence. It would not be jazz. 


About The Author

Innovating Service With Chip Bell’s picture

Innovating Service With Chip Bell

Chip Bell has helped companies dramatically enhance their bottom lines and marketplace reputation through innovative customer-centric strategies. For the sixth year in a row, Global Gurus in 2020 ranked Bell as one of the top three keynote speakers in the world on customer service. Bell has authored 24 books; seven are international best sellers. His latest book, Inside Your Customer’s Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions, shows how co-creation partnerships enable you to tap into the treasure trove of ideas, ingenuity, and genius-in-the-raw within every customer.


Ear of the listener

Sorry to nitpick, but here are some song titles associated with John Coltane that could form the basis of a discussion about innovative service: Welcome, Impressions, Moment's Notice, Compassion, Giant Steps, and My Favorite Things. Or how about the first three parts of A Love Supreme: 1) Acknowledgement, 2) Resolution, 3) Pursuance. Just these three could keep someone busy for a while.