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BK Blog Post
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).
Today was my semi-annual dental cleaning. My dentist, Dr. Norm Lee, is a big fan of “only cleaning the teeth you plan to keep!” I got more than clean teeth; I got service with sprinkles. But, I am getting way ahead of myself. My teeth cleaning started with a text two weeks ago reminding me of the date and time. The day before my appointment, I got another text with another reminder and super friendly call to let me know everyone was very excited to see me. Knowing I can get sometimes distracted with my work, at seven this morning another text popped in letting me know there was only two hours before my dental party! Too many reminders for you? I programmed the frequency with them when they set up their text-call reminder process. I arrived on time to a greeting that told me I was special. There was brief chitchat about my holidays and my wife (also a patient). They always surprise me with how many personal details they remember. I was about to sit down in their super-comfortable waiting area with magazines I like (they asked!) when my dental hygienist, Deedee, told me we were ready to launch! Since x-rays were due, I got to be an early adopter with an amazingly new machine right out of Star Wars that did surround x-ray photos. “When we finish getting your photos,” Deedee said, “We can watch the movie together!” At the end of my cleaning session, Dr. Lee came in for the final check. Dentists in a hurry would approach this task much like a drive-by inspection. Not Dr. Lee. He treats people, not teeth and gums. He started with a few seconds of personal conversation. His dental inspections are always narrated like he wants me to know what he was thinking so I could be a partner in the process. After he pronounced my teeth in A-1 shape, he cautioned me to keep an eye on a potentially rebellious tooth. Then Deedee gave me my going away present (lots of dental care surprises—toothpaste, floss, a toothbrush, the works). As I checked out the front office thanked me for making their day! I walked out with clean teeth and a skip in my gait. We often think of great customer service as something super special and over-the-top. But, greatness is sometimes doing the simple things in a way that lights up your customer’s life. Sprinkles make a good cupcake or cookie special, just like innovative service makes a good customer experience special. But, sprinkles don’t have to be incandescent; they just have to be colorful and added with obvious authenticity and flair.