What if…? Pond vs. River

What if your customer experience was a body of water? Would it be more like a pond or more like a river?

pondPonds are sleepy. I grew up on one behind our house. While it was stocked with fish, it was a great haven for turtles, algae, snakes and an occasional alligator. In the summer we’d spray the banks since the water could become stagnant—a breeding ground for pesky mosquitoes. And, every few years we had to completely drain the pond to allow it a fresh start from rain water. Pond-like organizations stick with what they have always done, regardless of their moving and shifting customers. They are populated with people who enjoy pesky rules and policies, making customer service sometimes laced with effort and hassle. They can be boring and mundane.

riverRivers are vibrant and ever-changing. Their currents can be mediums for transporting cargo or exciting rides in a canoe or raft. The sound of a river can be a solace for rest. They are ever-changing. River-like organizations are those that perpetually seek new, compelling ways to deliver service to their constantly changing customers. They want their service to be as exciting as they view their customers. And, their employees are eager to delight and committed to serve. They value innovation and learning.

Would your customers label their experience with you more like a pond or like a river? Today’s customers, with their vast social media connections, can drain pond-like organizations while singing the praises of those that serve like a river.

Be a river to your customers, not a pond!


Add Your Response


Never miss a post! Sign up to have future posts delivered to your inbox:


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.


More on Chip