The Customer as Valentine: Deliver Old-Fashioned Service

old fashioned serviceEvery small town in America has a Buster. Let me tell you about a real Buster I knew. He sold Grit newspapers on Main Street and knew the birthday of everyone in town. He worked part-time as a stocker at the local feed store, the watering hole for the agricultural community, and was famous for his random acts of delight. And, when you met Buster on the street, he greeted you with your whole name, always with “Mr,” “Mrs.” or “Miss” in front of it—“Good morning, Miss Nancy Rainey”—no matter your age. Buster made everyone smile! And, Valentines is the season of Busters!

Busters are smile-makers and practice their talents with complete authenticity. Busters greet everyone without regard to age, disposition, social standing or popularity. A Buster greeting reflects an obvious zeal to change the math of the interaction from subtraction to multiplication. Busters pay attention to the little details most service providers take for granted. Busters enjoy a happy village and view their role as making a large contribution to that collective cheerfulness.

Busters deliver old-fashioned valentine service you might associate with a small town merchant of yesteryear. These valentine service deliverers act on history–patterns of previous purchases–and rely on neighborly practices of honesty and fair play. They will open the store or stay on the phone for you after hours if you need something. They will follow-up to make sure you are thrilled, not just satisfied. And, they remember you in ways that include a delightful surprise.

Does your customer service make your customers smile? Does it have a unique innovative twist that makes it distinctive and special? Do you create experiences for your customers they would describe as lively, fun and positively memorable? How many customers did you make laugh this week? Would your customers tell you, “You are my Valentine?” Put on your Buster suit and celebrate Valentine’s Day with your customers.


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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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