Innovative Service as a Calliope

Chip Bell Posted by Chip Bell.

Chip R. Bell is a senior partner with the Chip Bell Group and manages the office near Atlanta. He is the author of nineteen books, including Managers as Mentors (coauthored with Marshall Goldsmith) and Wired and Dangerous (co-authored with John Patterson).


Innovative Service as a Calliope

Make my service engaging and colorful. Make it perfectly fit the situation and setting. Compel me to be a part of it, not just a spectator or bystander. Influence me to want more and more of it. Entice me to smile, even laugh. And, make it as nostalgic as an attic souvenir and as fresh as a first trip to Disney World. Make it like a calliope!

Calliopes were a part of the old-fashioned circus that came to my rural town. The circus parade preceded the circus opening. A long line of caged wild animals, funny clowns, beautiful women riding horses or elephants came down Main Street to the thrill of “children of all ages.” The calliope was a giant set of organ pipes on a carved, painted and gilded wagon pulled by two gorgeous white horses. The songs it played were antique sing-a-longs numbers that everyone knew and could join in the singing.

Innovative service is a lot like a calliope. And, here is the best part. The calliope was at the end of the parade so kids fell in behind, continuing to sing, as the followed it to the circus tent. It would have put the pied piper to shame. Innovative service compels customers to follow because they are drawn by the surprise of the experience and the seduction of the invitation. The day the circus opened, all the schools and every business in town closed. Everyone responded to the siren call of the calliope.

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