Cirque du Service

7684300692_955d221423_zCirque du Soleil performances are like sprinkles…they touch you in an emotional way and with a kind of whimsical flair. They make you want to eat the icing and skip the cake. Analyzing the magic of a Cirque du Soleil can be in very instructive in what it can teach us about service with sprinkles.

Sprinkles make a cupcake or cookie distinctive, charming and most of all, alluring. I gave it a test at a recent party my wife and I were hosting for about ten couples. For dessert, we put out a large platter of cupcakes—vanilla and chocolate all with icing. Some at colorful sprinkles, some had a cherry on top, and some just had plain icing. Guess what? The ones with sprinkles were the first to disappear. While an experiment with 20 subjects does not a principle make, it was confirming that people are attracted to vibrant.

Every one of the 20 different Cirque du Soleil performances, from the Beatles Love in Las Vegas to La Nouba in Orlando to Varekai in Vienna is laced with color, acrobatics, dance, and over-the-top music. It is a sensory menagerie. There is little predictable about any performance. Instead you get head-turning surprise every few minutes.

Every show has a way to physically involve the audience; every show creates a context for the audience to become a part of the show, not just a spectator. In the Beatles Love, for example, a white cloth in the giant theatre in the round is drawn from center stage and involves the audience in pulling the mammoth cloth to a point it covers every person. There is a strong helping of the bizarre, unique, curious dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment.

Corley Heating, Air, and Electric in Greenville, SC sent their service techs out on Friday (Feb. 13) and Saturday (Feb. 14) with balloons and a valentine card for each customer. That’s Cirque du Service! The service department of my car dealership has a Keurig Coffee Machine. On the day I take the car in for service, they always make sure there is hazelnut coffee (my favorite). What if the service you created for those you served that the same enchanting unpredictability?

Photo Credit: Derek Key via Flickr

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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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