The Cream in My Coffee

coffee“You’re the cream in my coffee” is the opening line and title of a song written in 1928 by Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown.  It was a song recorded by many famous musicians like Nat King Cole, Les Brown and the Ray Conniff Singers.  It provides a powerful metaphor for the difference between great customer service and innovative service.

Great service is the delivery of all the basics done superbly plus something extra.  Think of the baker’s dozen, upgrades, complimentary whatevers.  Great service is like cream in coffee, it can add a pleasing ingredient that enhances the overall experience (except for those diehard “I only drink it black” coffee aficionados).

Innovative service is the delivery of all the basics done superbly plus something unexpected.  It is ingenious, not just generous.  It is a focus on creativity, not addition.  It leaves customers a bit awed, not just wowed.  To follow our cream in coffee analogy, it is hazelnut or French vanilla cream, not simply the form of milk that rises to the top before homogenization!

Many auto dealerships wash the customer’s vehicle after it has been serviced; my dealership leaves a bottle of ice-cold water in my cup holder.  Some physicians provide an on-call doctor so if you just got released after surgery you had a late-night resource to quell your anxiety or answer your questions.  My physician gives me his cell phone number and encourages me to call anytime.  Some restaurants remember your favorite adult beverage; my favorite restaurant brings it to the table without my having to order it.

Great service is excellent; innovative service is awesome.  Great service creates advocates who recommend; innovative service produces devotees who tell stories.  Are you the cream in your customer’s coffee?  Make it crème brûlée flavored and your customers will likely consider you to be…to use another line from the song…”always my necessity.”

Photo Credit: Flickr via Juan de Dios

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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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