In Praise of Passionate Inconsistency

Arthur Rubenstein is arguably the greatest pianist of this century. Click on to experience Rubenstein performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor at 90 years old. But, it is his attitude toward performance that is the subject of this blog.

“At every concert, I leave a lot to the moment. I must have the unexpected, the unforeseen. I want to risk, to dare. I want to be surprised by what comes out. I want to enjoy it more than the audience. That way the music can bloom anew.”

Customers long for a service performance that blooms anew. They talk and tweet about experiences that are unexpected and unforeseen. Bottom line, they want to be surprised by what comes out. And, they wish they can experience front-line servers who are truly enjoying performing on their behalf.

We live in an era of mechanized, sanitized, carefully controlled. After all, leaders have metrics to respect and standards to honor. Forget about the non-plussed recipient of its byproduct. There is brand consistency to consider. So, one tactic is to get servers to say the right thing, the proper way, the same way, every time…”Would you like fries with that..”, “Have a nice day,” or “Your call is very important to us.”

Too many organizations rely on scripts, tightly controlled messaging, automated procedures, and homogenized policies that guarantee efficiency, consistency, and speed. Meanwhile, the performance of service comes out plain vanilla and is promptly forgotten. Customers do not remark about okay, pretty good service; the only service that is unique…that is, remarkable. They enthusiastically advocate for organizations that turn their head and touch their heart, not those that just meet their needs.

Let’s bring back passion and authenticity. Let’s create innovative service experiences as vibrant and fresh as a Rubinstein piano concert. “If you over practice,” said Rubenstein, “the music seems to come out of your pocket. If you play with a feeling of ‘Oh, I know this,’ you play without that little drop of fresh blood that is necessary—and the audience feels it.”

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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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